Shocking drone footage shows water levels in one of the UK’s largest reservoirs have fallen to just 20 per cent, raising fears of shortages this winter.
Wimbleball Lake, on Exmoor in Somerset, currently measures less than a quarter of its capacity, with images of the reservoir and barren landscape showing the effect of this summer’s drought on Britain’s water supply.
The Environment Agency officially declared the area’s drought status in August after the driest conditions in 90 years.
Around this time last year, Wimbleball was more than 70 percent full, but average reserves are now below what they were in the exceptionally dry year of 1995 — when reservoir capacity hit its previous record low of 26.4 percent.
Water sports on the lake have also been canceled until further notice “due to the unprecedented and prolonged period of hot and dry weather” this summer.
Footage of Wimbleball Lake, on Exmoor in Somerset, shows the effect of this summer’s drought on Britain’s water supply
Water reserves in the reservoir have fallen to just 20 percent, raising fears of shortages this winter
The dramatic footage was captured this week by Paul Scullion, 41, a freelance photographer and factory worker from Taunton, Somerset.
He said: ‘I had heard that the water levels were low there and I wanted to see for myself, but what I saw was quite shocking.
“A few years ago, the Wimbleball water levels were below the bridge. It is unbelievable how low the water levels are now.
‘I drove past the reservoir before and saw children playing in the water and jumping from the bridge into the water.
“This was only a few years ago, but they certainly can’t now.”
Wimbleball is one of the largest reservoirs in the Southwest, with a capacity of 21,000 megaliters of water over an area of 374 hectares.
South West Water reported that the reservoir’s water storage level had fallen to just over 20 percent on Oct. 9. Together, DHW’s five largest reservoirs had only 30.2 percent of their combined capacity.
SWW said the area was experiencing its fourth driest period since records began more than 130 years ago this summer, which is why it introduced a garden hose ban in Cornwall and parts of Devon in August for the first time in 26 years.
Photographer Paul Scullion said he had seen the water levels ‘under the bridge’ a few years ago, but now that area has completely dried up
South West Water reported that the reservoir’s water storage level had fallen to just over 20 percent on Oct. 9.
The company warned that they expected “continued and severe pressure on reservoir levels” in the winter months.
Jo Ecroyd, drought director at South West Water, said: ‘Reservoir levels in Cornwall and parts of Devon remain exceptionally low and continue to fall, and will remain so for the foreseeable future with no sustained rainfall after a prolonged period of drought.
“We are asking customers to redouble their efforts and do more to conserve water to avoid further restrictions and protect the region’s precious water resources.
“It is essential that people living in the Southwest or visiting the Southwest do everything possible now to reduce the amount of water they use.
The Southwest has experienced its fourth driest period since records began more than 130 years ago, in addition to the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the region this summer, putting pressure on water resources.
Wimbleball is one of the Southwest’s largest reservoirs and has a capacity to store 21,000 megaliters of water over an area of 374 acres
“We know that our customers have already worked hard to reduce their consumption, but we ask everyone to continue to work together to protect the water in the Southwest.
“We continue to work around the clock to fix more leaks in our network than ever before and provide customers with the necessary advice and tools to reduce their usage.
“The Met Office is not currently forecasting significant and sustained rain in the fall months, so we expect continued and severe pressure on reservoir levels this winter.”
After an exceptionally dry summer, hose bans are still in effect across the country.
Thames Water, which supplies water to 15 million people in Greater London, Oxfordshire and parts of Surrey, said reservoirs are at their lowest level since 2003.
In an update to their website last week, the company said rainfall this year was 38% below average, adding: “We have seen below average rainfall in 10 of the past 12 months, including all of the last six. ‘