Where is the Thames? British people are asking questions amid drought

The dry grass path borders a small valley. Then, covered with trees, a dusty, branch-covered hollow appears without a trace of moisture. However, it is the source of Thames,

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A source that is now theoretical: several kilometers downstream, the course of this symbolic river United Kingdom In a shocking example of a drought affecting a large part of the country, it is best summed up in a few puddles with mud.

“we have not got Thames,says Michael Sanders, a 62-year-old computer scientist who came with his wife to explore the “Thames Path,” a marked path that follows a winding course of the river to its estuary.

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“It is completely dry. There are puddles here, there is mud, but there is absolutely no water that flows here. We hope to find Thames downstream, but by now it has disappeared. The man told AFP on vacation in the city of Ashton Keynes, a few kilometers from the source.

It is in this picturesque area in the foothills of the Cotswolds, not far from Wales, that the river rises from an outflow of the water table, curving its way into the North Sea before passing a distance of about 350 km. London,

But for those who envision the English countryside as golf courses, the shock is hard to come by this summer after winter and spring with almost no precedent rain records being present.

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“I would say we went through the African savanna, it’s very dry,” says David Gibbons, a 60-year-old retired man who, along with his wife and a group of friends, follows the reverse path from Michael Sanders’ mouth to the source.

A few hundred meters away from the objective, he is surprised by the fauna found when he moves up the river, which is a strategic and industrial waterway in the region. London Which turns into a tourist attraction above the river amidst river walks and bird watching.

The shell of an American crayfish is found in the dry bottom of the River Thames in Ashton Keynes on August 8, 2022.  (Photo: Adrian Dennis / AFP)
The shell of an American crayfish is found in the dry bottom of the River Thames in Ashton Keynes on August 8, 2022. (Photo: Adrian Dennis / AFP) , Adrian Dennis

“Something Has Changed”

“But in the last two or three days we did not see any animal as there is no water. It disappeared about 10 miles (16 km, NDLR) from here.According to David Gibbons.

“We’ve never seen it so dry and empty”, Andrew Jack, 47, a local civil servant who lives about 15 kilometers from Ashton Keynes, reached through narrow rural streets dotted with stone houses.

Between the city’s main street and some coquetish buildings, the river shows through the bridges that cross it, which are wasp-filled crevices that recall images of African swamps in the dry season.

No respite in near future: The National Weather Agency issued an orange heat alert for southern England and eastern Wales between Thursday and Sunday, with temperatures reaching 35-36C.

Local officials are urging residents to save water, and the company that feeds London announced future restrictions on consumption, which are already in place in a part of the country’s south.

But David Gibbons doesn’t want to panic. “I’ve lived in England my whole life, we’ve had droughts before,” he says. “I think it will be green again between now and fall,” he says.

Andrew Jack, who came with his family for a walk along the river where a lonely graduation scale is now nothing to measure, is more pessimistic: “There are many Englishmen who think ‘Great, let’s take advantage of time’ (…) but that means something has changed, and for the worse.”

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