The beauty of full reservoirs in Jersey and Guernsey last month

St Saviour's reservoir, Guernsey, which is almost at capacity. Credit: Guernsey Water

Casting our minds back over the month of April, we can all appreciate how lovely and warm it was - it kept spirits up. And when you factor in that we had a record breaking month in Guernsey for the warmest April on record, that was an added bonus. A mere 12 degrees (on average), but it topped the pole! (It was the second warmest on record for Jersey.)

It was a pretty dry month with less than the average rainfall for April. Typically we'd expect to see around 50-60mm during the month, but instead we saw 40-50mm and 21 days of continuous dry weather, without a spot of rainfall.

April figures for Jersey. Credit: Jersey Met dept.
April figures for Guernsey. Credit: Jersey Met dept

One of the most memorable "down time" moments I had during April was walking around a reservoir on sunny day.

My husband and I stepped out for a change of scenery after two weeks of being confined to a desk at home, to enjoy our two hour constitutional walk!

What a joy. What struck me was the beauty of the reservoirs surrounded by lush green conditions.

Enjoying a walk around Val de la Mare in Jersey with my husband. Credit: Sophia Bird

Believe it or not, despite 20 consecutive days of no rainfall, the reservoirs across the islands are almost full to capacity. To be perfectly honest, having spoken to colleagues at Jersey Water and Guernsey Water, it's actually looking very healthy.

In Jersey, the reservoirs are at 95% capacity, which works out as 2,538 megalitres - the equivalent of 1,000 swimming pools! It would supply the island for around 120 days, if there was no further rainfall at all.

Jon Holt, Guernsey Water's Operations Manager, told me that across the reservoirs and 15 main quarries in the island, they are 99.6% full. That means Guernsey has enough water supply for 11 months!

And as for talking time out at the reservoirs, it appears many are enjoying the opportunity. The reservoir in Guernsey, and two reservoirs in Jersey, are open to the public.

However, it's worth knowing the requests from Jersey Water and Guernsey Water if you want to take advantage:

St Saviour's reservoir, Guernsey

St Saviour's reservoir in all its beauty. Credit: Guernsey Water

The circular public walk is open as normal and you are being asked to observe social distancing where necessary.

You may even see members of the operational team from Guernsey Water carrying out inspections of the dam.

The Guernsey Water team are still working hard to ensure leeks are dealt with, and burst mains are seen too - not to mention the 24 hour control room team, who are now split into two shifts. They have access to all the live data and are working hard to keep the island fully and efficiently operational.

Vale de la Mare and Queen's Valley reservoirs in Jersey

Val dela Mare reservoir, Jersey. Credit: Jersey Water

In Jersey, two reservoirs are open to the public. Jersey Water request people walk and run clockwise. Another request has been added recently: Walkers and runners have now been allocated times to exercise around these stunning reservoirs - as they've proved so popular!

  • Walkers can enjoy the routes between 9am-6pm

  • Runners only are permitted before 9am or after 6pm

Jersey water have said this allotted time is for the safety of islanders and to facilitate social distancing - ensuring runners do not overtake the walkers.

The great team at Jersey Water are also still working at full capacity to ensure maintenance works of the reservoirs. Work continues as normal - even surveys are being undertaken for their routine biannual safety inspections - planned for June.

So, with many hoping for more sunshine in this coming month, and with social and physical distancing still being practiced, it's wonderful to know we can still stretch our legs if we want and are able.

We can take time to appreciate these stunning pieces of island scenery - which are so valuable to the community and continue to work quietly in the back ground of all this uncertainty.