Tilshead Borehole Levels: 22nd March 2020

A most interesting week.  Overall, the Tilshead borehole water level fell steadily throughout the week, which reflects the lack of rain we have had during the last fortnight.  The relatively warm weather has continued and many of the shrubs and bushes that were in bud are coming into leaf and the buds are swelling on the trees.  Lawns are already growing madly and in need of an early trim so this is all serving to use up water.

During the middle of the week, the Environment Agency data stream showed an odd glitch.  It looked like this:

It’s almost as if the sensor in the borehole came adrift and started to sink before being hauled back into position.  I don’t expect we will ever really know what happened.   The Environment Agency Flood Warning remains in force for the River Till and the latest bulletin says:

“The groundwater level at the Tilshead borehole is currently 99.48 mAOD and stable. We believe a possibility of flooding still exists for Tilshead, Orcheston, Shrewton, Winterborne Stoke, Berwick Saint James and Stapleford. Residents are advised to ensure property flood resilience measures are in place and that pumps are working where they have been installed. Residents may experience problems flushing toilets and have issues with septic tanks. The Met Office forecast is for mostly dry and settled weather over the next few days. With a drier spell we expect groundwater levels to continue to fall”.

The weather over the next few days looks to be predominantly dry, breaking down to give a little rain on Thursday.  Beyond that, the weather continues to look dry, which is good news for those affected by these extraordinary groundwater levels.  Some good news at the end of an otherwise depressing week.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Children’s Play-park

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation has many implications, even for a small village like ours. Given that at least some of the village children will no longer be attending school or nursery for the foreseeable future, they may need some distraction, so the Parish Council intends to keep the play-park open unless we receive specific advice or instruction to the contrary.

All the social distancing measures that are being recommended more generally need to be adhered to when using the play-park. It is up to the parents of children using the play-park to ensure that this happens.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) can survive for several days, particularly on metal and plastic surfaces such as those used in the construction of the play equipment. The Parish Council cannot offer any assurance that the equipment will be virus free and parents must make their own risk/benefit judgement regarding the safety of their own children if they allow them to use it. The Parish Council cannot accept any liability for your decisions as parents.

If the situation changes, the gates may be locked without further announcement.

Tilshead Borehole Levels: 15th March 2020

The water levels in the Tilshead borehole have fallen excruciatingly slowly over the last week from a peak of 99.59m AOD to today’s low of 99.54m AOD; the lowest it has fallen since the 20th of February.  Of course, we’ve now had a few days with a fair bit of rain, so we might see the levels drop for 2 or 3 days before they level off or even rise again.

The Flood Warning for the Till is the only one in the area still in force. The Environment Agency is currently saying:

“The groundwater level at the Tilshead borehole is currently 99.56 mAOD and stable. We believe a possibility of flooding still exists for Tilshead, Orcheston, Shrewton, Winterborne Stoke, Berwick Saint James and Stapleford. Residents are advised to ensure property flood resilience measures are in place and that pumps are working where they have been installed. Residents may experience problems flushing toilets and have issues with septic tanks. The Met Office forecast is for intermittent showers over the weekend until Sunday evening 15/03/20, but with a drier spell expected next week any rise in levels will be limited.”

The forecast is for the rain to ease this evening then we should have dry weather until Wednesday when things break down again and we can expect rain continuing into Thursday.  This should clear and we may get a week or more of predominantly dry weather.  As we head into April the dry trend should continue, so the flood season may be coming to an end.

 

Tilshead Borehole Levels: 8th March 2020

Another week of intermittent rain and showers.  This has led to the Tilshead borehole level returning to it 99.58m AOD and exceeding that briefly yesterday to achieve an annual high of 99.59m AOD.  Today, it has fallen slightly back to 99.58 m AOD.

In its latest Flood Warning update issued on Friday at 14:30, the Environment Agency said:

“The groundwater level at the Tillshead borehole is currently artesian at 99.5 m AOD. Groundwater levels on the Salisbury plain are forecast to rise after recent heavy rainfall. We believe a possibility of flooding still exists for Tilshead, Orcheston, Shrewton, Winterborne Stoke, Berwick Saint James and Stapleford. Residents are advised to ensure property resilience measures are put in place and that pumps are working where they have been installed. Residents may experience problems flushing toilets and have issues with septic tanks. Further rainfall over the weekend and into the early parts of next week are forecast by the met office, with this rainfall we anticipate groundwater levels to continue to rise.”

For the first time in the last 7 years, the Environment agency is talking about the borehole being “artesian at 99.5 m AOD.”  This is where the level of precision matters, but if we take the Environment Agency data at face value by way of example, this is what it suggests.  If the borehole is artesian at 99.50m AOD then when the borehole level reaches 99.50m, the water would be at ground level.  As the water level is now 99.58m AOD, then you would expect a column of water 8cm high to be emerging from the Tilshead borehole.  However, due to the lack of precision in the Flood Warning,  99.5m might, with rounding up or down, be any measurement between 99.45m and 99.54m – so the water column at Tilshead could be anywhere from 4cm to 13cm tall – that’s a big range when it comes to flooding.

Next week is going to be much the same as last week with more periods of rain and showers, so the water level is unlikely to fall a great deal.  In the longer term, from mid-month onwards, the weather is expected to become increasingly settled.  Add that to the coming of Spring and the water levels should start to stabilise.