FIRST Chesham hit the national news with its Arctic weather in the winter and now the town has made international news with its dry river.

The River Chess Association (RCA) was shocked when it had an unexpected call from the Australia Broadcasting Corporation, which wanted to speak to the group about the drought and its effect on the River Chess.

The broadcasting company sent its London team to Chesham to speak to RCA’s David Le Neve Foster and the Chiltern Conservation Board’s Allen Beechey.

Mr Le Neve Foster said: “It was a little out of the ordinary and certainly unexpected. I think what’s happened is the average Australian can’t understand little old wet England has no water. I think it started off as a local interest story, and perhaps something quite funny, but when the reporter got here I think they realised it was a serious story.

“Maybe we can learn something from Australia, as they’re dealing with continuing drought. It’s very interesting.”

Mr Le Neve Foster said water groups in Australia have got in touch with RCA to offer their support.

Mr Le Neve Foster said the Chilterns is among the worst drought-affected places in the country.

He said: “At the moment we’re having very unusual dry conditions. We’ve been concerned about saving water for a while. The aquifer is getting lower and lower and no one took any notice until Veolia realised there will not be enough water for people to drink this summer. Thankfully its introducing a hosepipe ban, but this will not restore the water levels. We need a lot of rain and a long-term plan to have a new water source.

“Imagine the aquifer as a tank. When it’s empty it’s empty, you can’t fill it up unless we have continuous rainfall, which we don’t seem to have.

“What they’re doing now isn’t sustainable.

“Things will get worse in the summer and we could end up with a standpipe on the corner, which wouldn’t be popular.”

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