Submitted by Katie Muchan on
March was a month of two halves; unsettled weather dominated the first two weeks whilst the latter part was notably dry with settled conditions. Rainfall in March was notably above average, exceptionally so in Northern Ireland, Wales, north-west England and the Scottish Borders. Consequently, river flows in these areas were generally notably high and in some cases exceptionally so – a number of catchments in north Wales and north-west England recorded more than twice the average flow. Elsewhere, flows remained in the normal range and below normal flows persisted in central and eastern England. Reservoir stocks underwent something of a recovery during March, with only a handful of impoundments in eastern and south-west England remaining below average. Soil Moisture Deficits increased across the country (the only exception being the Highland region) and were above average at month-end. Groundwater levels were below normal in central and eastern England, notably so in East Anglia, and were generally in the normal range elsewhere. Whilst water resource concerns have been allayed to some extent by rainfall in March and early April, these low groundwater levels highlight the need for additional rainfall to alleviate potential water resource pressure later in 2019. However, increasing evaporation rates will limit the effectiveness of rainfall and potential for recharge, suggesting below normal groundwater levels are likely to persist through the summer in the south-east.