Long droughts have serious effects on animals in rivers, warned British conservationists – Earth – Science and technology

Prolonged periods of drought are having a serious impact on wildlife in rivers, representatives of British conservation organizations have told BBC News.

According to them, water courses are already under pressure due to pollution and use for drinking water, the drought increases this burden even more. Rivers that rise from springs in the chalk bedrock, which are home to salmon, kingfishers and otters, are particularly at risk, the charity Rivers Trust said.

There are only 200 of these rivers worldwide, with 85 percent of them in southern and eastern England. “It’s our barrier reef or the Amazon rainforest, it’s our unique contribution to wildlife and biodiversity around the world,” said Christine Colvin of the Rivers Trust.

She added that some smaller rivers of this type are starting to dry up, while larger rivers are experiencing low flows. “The wildlife here is already facing stress from the warmer temperatures and their habitat is shrinking as the water level keeps getting lower and lower,” Colvin said.

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“We don’t want it to go any lower than it is now,” she added. Jamie Marsh, of the not-for-profit organization Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, warned of a “serious situation” for wildlife as river levels in parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are falling. At one nature reserve on the banks of the River Itchen in Winchester, a pond has completely dried up. Low river flow negatively affects food sources for fish, insects and invertebrates, with consequences for animals higher up the food chain, such as water voles and otters.

“Our water resources are under a lot of pressure, and this long dry spell is exacerbating those problems,” Marsh said. “What we can do is look at our water consumption as a society and try to reduce it,” he added.

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Southern Water, which supplies water to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said the decision to ban filling pools, watering gardens and washing cars was a “crucial step” to protect the habitats of the rivers Test and Itchen. River flows in July were about 25 percent lower than they should have been, according to the company. River flows in central and southern England are expected to remain extremely low for the rest of the summer, according to the latest forecasts from scientists. The Rivers Trust has therefore called for a total overhaul of the way water is used, so that the country can cope with the fact that dry hot years are likely to become more frequent.

“We want a coordinated response from the government and the water companies,” said Christine Colvin. “These heatwaves and prolonged dry spells are now a tough test for us to prepare for a long time because we will see many more years like this,” she added.

Source: Pravda – Veda a technika by vat.pravda.sk.

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