People living in drought-affected areas are being urged by the Environment Agency to “use water wisely”.
A drought has been declared in the UK, affecting eight areas across England.
This comes after the UK saw its hottest weather on record in July, with temperatures reaching 41C.
Rainfall across England has already fallen by 26% on average.
Before the news was confirmed, water companies including Welsh Water, Southern Water, Thames Water and South East Water were already imposing hose bans in a bid to save supplies.
Areas affected include South West England, South and Central England and East England.
Here’s everything you need to know about the drought and a map of the affected areas.
Where has a drought been declared in the UK?
The Environment Agency has confirmed that drought has been declared in half of England.
The affected areas include South West England, South and Central England and East England.
A drought has been reported in eight of the agency’s 14 areas.
The areas affected by the drought are: Devon and Cornwall, Solent and South Downs, Kent and South London, Herts and North London, East Anglia, Thames, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire and East Midlands.
The ongoing heatwave and lack of rain are said to be behind the water shortages.
Britain has experienced its hottest summer on record, with temperatures reaching 41C in July.
What can we expect from the drought?
People living in drought-affected areas are being urged by the Environment Agency to “pay close attention to pressures on water resources” and “use water wisely.”
Water utilities have enacted hose bans to prevent further water wastage.
The Environment Agency said the drought will not automatically trigger action.
This will be left to individual water companies, who will implement their own drought measures, which could include things like hose line bans.
There is still no talk of introducing water rationing, which was last seen during the 1976 drought.
During this drought, the main water supply was shut off in the affected areas, leaving residents dependent on standpipes for their water supply.
Water saving campaigns during this period encouraged people to “save water, bathe with a friend”.
These slogans are unlikely to make a comeback in 2022.
What did the government say?
Water Secretary Steve Double has addressed the drought in a statement.
He said: “We are currently experiencing a second heat wave after the driest July on record for parts of the country.
“The government and other partners, including the Environment Agency, are already taking action to manage the impact.” All water companies have assured us that the basic service is still secure and we have made it clear that it is their duty to maintain that service to maintain.
“We are better prepared than ever for droughts, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation, including the impact on farmers and the environment, and take further action as needed.”