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WWF: England Rivers Running Dry

Image: WWF: England Rivers Running Dry

The River Tyne at Corbridge in Northumberland, England, is seen on May 10, 2017, as fears grow for a summer drought, following one of the driest winters in the past two decades. (Owen Humphreys/Press Association via AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 26 Jun 2017 09:11 AM

According to the WWF, a quarter of England's rivers are running dry and could have a major impact on wildlife.

A report made available from the World Wide Fund for Nature (also known as the World Wildlife Fund), said not only fish will be affected, but also birds and insects that feed off of the river, The Guardian noted.

England experienced its driest stretch from October to March in 20 years followed by an "extremely dry" April, the newspaper said. May also had below average rainfall.

Under such conditions, as many as 23 percent of England's rivers could run dry, according to information released by the WWF, per The Guardian. WWF said more than 550 rivers were in poor ecological state because too much water is being taken from them.

The Independent reported that another 9 percent of rivers are described as "over-licensed," meaning that the rivers could dwindle to similarly low levels if permits to take water from them were fully utilized.

"The south-east of England received less rainfall over the winter than Menorca," Tanya Steele, chief executive of the WWF, said, according to The Guardian. "If we have a dry summer, our green and pleasant land could become as parched as some of the Mediterranean.

"This may sound attractive for sun-seekers, but it would be disastrous for wildlife. But this can be avoided if we update the outdated way we manage the demand on our country’s limited water supplies," Steele continued.

One example of a drying riverbed is the River Chess in Buckinghamshire, where cracked mud and weeds have replaced the running water of the river, Sky News noted.

"This would be knee-depth crystal clear water that's come out of the chalk aquifer, with lovely fronds of weed," Paul Jennings, chairman of the River Chess Association, told Sky News. "You have ducks and swans and all sorts of livestock in here plus fish. But we don't have that now."

"Over the last six years we've had four drying events, where there's been absolutely no water at all in this section," Jennings continued.

Steele called on the British government to take an active role in addressing the issues with rivers, the Independent noted.

"The U.K. government must urgently set out an ambitious long-term plan for the environment, including new policies to manage our water resources, a plan to meet our climate change targets and proposals to tackle the illegal wildlife trade and protect our seas," Steele said, per the Independent.

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According to the WWF, a quarter of England's rivers are running dry and could have a major impact on wildlife.
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Monday, 26 Jun 2017 09:11 AM
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