Church House Lake Nearly Empty

Lake in Church House Garden, on 7th August 2022

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.

CHG Lake at record low levels

Church House Gardens lake extremely low.
Lake in Church House Gardens today

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.