Drought project highlights effects of water shortages through riverside walk

November 01 2016

A MAJOR project on drought was behind a walk along the river Frome in Yate.

A MAJOR project on drought was behind a walk along the river Frome in Yate.
Members of the Drought Risk and You - DRY - project, organised the walk, which started at the South Gloucestershire Council offices in Badminton Road.
Chris Knight highlighted sustainability features in the building, such as a rainwater harvesting system, and the challenges that such measures can bring.
The group then joined the Frome Valley Walkway, where they were shown a modern map that overlaid one from 1882 and revealed that much of the direction and shape of the river had changed during the development of Yate.  
Several speakers shared their knowledge of the local flora and fauna, including Neil Green from Bristol Zoo, who discussed invasive species such as giant hogweed and the Asian hornet.
Tony Smith of Bristol Naturalists showed the kind of freshwater invertebrates that indicated river quality and walkers also learnt about the work of the Bristol and Avon Rivers Trust with regard to the Frome.
Paula Spiers from the Avon Frome Partnership discussed changing approaches to managing a river in an urban setting and Lindsey McEwan from the DRY project team explained some of the research already carried out on the hydrology and land use of the catchment area.
It showed how rainfall data going as far back as the 1960s identified several episodes of drought, of which 1976 was the most extreme.  
 Dry aims to collect information on the effect of drought to help those trying to reduce the risks it poses.
Those involved in the project said drought and water shortages affected people’s lives by posing a significant threat to the UK’s environment, agriculture, infrastructure, society and culture.
As part of its work, it is running a photo competition to find images of drought, water scarcity and heatwaves in the UK.
There is nearly a year before the deadline of September 30, 2017, for people to enter. Further details are available by emailing DRY@uwe.ac.uk or phoning 0117 328 7024.