WATER resource is something that is always on our minds at Westcountry Rivers Trust.
For others, given we are fortunate to have water on tap, it may not be on their radar, but as we face a heatwave, and potential droughts, even here in the UK, it’s worth spending a few minutes considering what we can all do to protect water resources. This not only helps human life but has a knock-on positive effect for wildlife too.
During heatwave conditions, anglers are being asked not to fish by many angling clubs. Less water in the river and its warmth put additional stress on fish, along with potential for algal blooms due to the temperature. These conditions can result in very low dissolved oxygen in shallow water, leading to fish gasping for breath.
If you are on or near a river and see fish in distress, call the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.
You can read their advice for fisheries management at environmentagency.blog.gov.uk/2022/07/08/preparing-your-fishery-for-the-summer/
You can also hear from our national organisation The River Trust’s CEO on BBC Farming Today too about a heatwave’s impact on rivers: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0019479
And however tempting it may seem to cool off in a lake or river, be mindful of cold water shock. South West Water has said that lake water temperature, particularly on the moors, will be below 15C. This means that there could be a massive temperature difference between the air and the water, leading to breathing issues and impeding your ability to swim.
The water company in the past few weeks has also asked people to try and save five litres of water per day as some reservoir levels across Devon and Cornwall drop to below 1995 figures.
You can get ideas on how to save water at southwestwater.co.uk/advice-and-services/save-water/top-tips/ or even see our Be Watertight information at wrt.org.uk/project/be-watertight/
And as one of the most important things to do in a heatwave is to keep hydrated, looking after our water supplies is an obvious necessity to staying well in very hot weather.
See more tips on health and wellbeing from the Met Office: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/warnings-and-advice/seasonal-advice/health-wellbeing/hot-weather-and-its-impacts