England – A dry grass track borders a small valley. Sheltered by trees, a dusty crater covered with branches appears devoid of moisture. However, it is in evidence River Tamisa.
Now the theoretical spring: several kilometers downstream, the course of this iconic river UK In a shocking example of the drought affecting much of the country, it boils well and boils down to muddy puddles.
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“We haven’t discovered the Thames yet,” says Michael Saunders, a 62-year-old computer scientist who came with his wife to explore the “Thames Trail”. .
“It is completely dry. There are puddles, mud, but the water is not rising. We hope to find the Thames downstream, but so far it has disappeared,” says the holidaymaker in the town of Ashton Keynes, a few kilometers from the source.
But for those who envision the English course as a golf course, the hitting has been tough this summer, after a winter and spring that’s almost unprecedented in terms of rainfall. “I’d say we’re walking through the African savannah, it’s very dry,” says David Gibbons, 60, who is walking the opposite route from Michael Sanders with his wife and a group of friends. .
A few hundred meters from the objective, the fauna seen on the river, a strategic and industrial waterway in the London region, becomes a tourist attraction between river walking and bird watching. “But in the last two or three days we haven’t seen any animals because of the lack of water,” says David Gibbons.
says Andrew Jack, a 47-year-old local civil servant who lives 15 kilometers from Ashton Keynes.
Between the main street of the village and some beautiful buildings, the river bed shows through the bridges that cross it, crevices occupied by wasps that evoke images of African swamps in the dry season.
No respite in the foreseeable future: The National Weather Service has issued an orange heat warning for parts of southern England and eastern Wales between Thursday and Sunday, with temperatures expected to reach 35-36 degrees Celsius.
Local authorities are urging residents to save water, and the agency that powers London has announced future restrictions on consumption, joining those already in the southern part of the country.
But David Gibbons doesn’t want to panic. “I’ve lived in England all my life and we’ve had droughts before,” he says. “I think between now and the fall it will turn green again,” he adds.
Andrew Jack, who has come to stroll with his family along a river with nothing left to measure a single graduation scale, is also pessimistic: “Well, there are a lot of English people who think they’re going to enjoy the time (. . .), but that means something has changed, and for the worse. / AFP
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