Matfield Pond

10th August 2020

Matfield Pond – Urgent Appeal for Volunteers

The Parish Council have been reviewing the best strategy to address the issue of the declining water levels in Matfield pond on The Green and are making an urgent appeal for assistance.

Every Summer evaporation causes significant water loss from ponds and with the Matfield pond having such a large surface area relative to depth, the impact becomes exacerbated. The very hot weather accelerates this process and in recent days evaporation is causing water levels to drop 1cm per day. The pond is currently about 60cm below normal levels and there is probably only about 30cm depth remaining.

Whilst aesthetically this is very disappointing, the more immediate concern is the welfare of wildlife and primarily the fish with the remaining shallow water having limited oxygen supplies.

There is a metered mains tap from which mains drinking water can top-up the pond, but this will only increase the pond’s water level by 1cm over a 24 hour period, but at a significant cost of £52 per day. Clearly this would be a very expensive exercise to make any meaningful impact on the pond’s water level and would take a long time.

Further, with the current hot weather, South East Water are struggling to maintain a sufficient pressure for mains supply to homes and are currently asking the public to exercise water conservation at this time. Further, increasingly and primarily due to climate change water is now a valuable resource and the PC does not consider it morally correct to use mains drinking water for the purpose of topping up the pond.

The PC are urgently appealing to local residents who could offer their assistance in two ways, either by collecting fish from the pond or offering alternative deeper ponds where they could be released for their own safety. We would ask volunteers in the first instance to contact the parish clerk (Chantal Brooks, 01892 723568 or clerk@brenchleyandmatfield.co.uk) to advise what assistance they can offer. An action event can then be organised with all volunteers working together. For collection of the fish, it would be preferable to have waders and suitable nets plus receptacles for storing the fish for immediate transit to new homes. The re-homing pond locations need to be local. There is some urgency in needing to carry this out within the next week.

The pond might potentially dry out completely by the end of the Summer, it has done in the past. The ducks will find new homes of their own accord and will return as the pond returns to more usual water levels. At which point the PC will consider re-stocking the pond with fish once the pond has re-filled naturally and the immediate danger has passed.

Please could anyone interested in helping with this exercise make contact by phone or email as a matter of urgency.

Chantal Brooks
Parish Clerk
clerk@brenchleyandmatfield.co.uk
01892 723586