Water resources report for March from the EA, what a difference a year makes Summary – March 2013
Above average rainfall fell during March, although the last week was dry. Soil moisture deficits are close
to average and key flow and groundwater sites remain normal or higher for the time of year. Some flood
alerts were issued in the month and a small number of groundwater flood alerts remain in place.Rainfall
The South East Region received 113% average rainfall for March, with the Lower Wey, Loddon and
Chilterns West the wettest with over 150% of the long term average. There were two periods of
widespread rainfall: on the 8th, there was heavy rainfall on the eastern half of the Region, with the highest
daily total recorded at Willop TBR (Romney Marsh) of 32mm; and on the 15th there was rainfall across
most of the Region with totals in excess of 20mm recorded in the Berkshire Downs and Test Chalk. There
was very little rainfall after the 23rd of the month.
The Region has received 131% average rainfall during the winter period October 2012 to March 2013.
This is more than double the rainfall for the winter period ending March 2012 when only 64% average
rainfall was recorded. The 12 month period ending in March 2013 is the 2nd wettest on record for South
East Region, after 2001.Soil Moisture Deficit, Recharge and Groundwater Levels
The soil moisture deficits were close to average at the end of March. There was above average recharge
during the month, with an estimated 172% average for the winter from October 2012.
Groundwater levels remain high across the Region, although 10 of the 16 key sites now have falling
levels. The sites where levels are still rising are Jackaments, where the Oolites respond quickly to rainfall;
Stonor (Chilterns West) and Lilley Bottom (Lee Chalk), both of which have some delay in response to
rainfall; Carisbrooke (Isle of Wight); and Sweeps Lane and Riddles Lane in the North Downs. Carisbrooke
levels remain exceptionally high, while Ashley Green and Jackaments are now normal for the time of year.
At the end of the month there were a number of groundwater flood alerts in force across the Region, many
of which were issued last month; River Flows
As would be expected with the low soil moisture deficit, most rivers in the Region responded to the heavy
rainfall, particularly on the 15th. This rain resulted in most of the flood alerts which are tabulated below,
with alerts issued on the 17th and the 23rd for the River Thames. All key river sites recorded normal or
above flows for March. The Loddon at Sheepbridge recorded the 2nd highest flows on record for March.
The Coln at Bibury has recorded the highest average winter flows on record, with Eynsham, Sheepbridge,
Allbrook and Iping Mill recording the 2nd highest winter flows.Full Technicolor report is HERE