The lake is normally replenished by winter rainfall, but this did not happen this time. Indeed the Met Office have advised that the annual rainfall in London and the south east has been the lowest since at least 1935!
With the continuing lack of rain, the lake in Church House Garden is very nearly empty. Any fish in there have long since died, and the birds have moved to desperately find some water elsewhere.
We have been seeking advice how this lake, and the wider park, can longer term be made more resilient to the ongoing climate change.
As a result of the extended period without rain the level of the lake in Church House Gardens is at an extremely low level. This puts the local wildlife in the lake, including the ducks etc under great stress. This fed by a spring as well as surface water, both of which are extremely depleted at present. With pressures on water supplies for other uses is unlikely that this will be replenished in the near future. We will just have to hope that significant rainfall will happen soon, and so gradually resolve this issue.
This situation was not helped by the very low rainfall over the autumn/winter. Paul, one of our members, has been monitoring the lake level since 2012. He reports that it was this low for a prolonged time in 2012, after ”one of the ten most significant droughts of the last 100 years” (Met Office). Paul also mentions that lake levels were also very low for brief periods in 2013 and 2018. So the lake and its wildlife has recovered before, and so we trust that it will do so again this time.
This lack of rainfall is also impacting local river levels e.g. Ravensbourne, with resulting potential pollution problems.
With the impacts of climate change increasingly being felt we desperately need to make our spaces and their environments more resilient.
Friends members cleared the water, mud and stones out of the pond, with some help from the local idVerde team. In doing so they chad carefully relocated some six smooth newts found in the mud. A small but long crack was identified as the reason for the slow leak in this pond. This and other cracks would be repaired as soon as possible; and then refilling and restocking with suitable plants to make it attractive again for frogs, newts, etc.
This concrete lined pond is found, where the entrance hall of the former Church House was located. This building was very badly damaged by bombs in 1941. Only the faintest outline of this building can still be found on the ground.