The Environment Agency has warned that most of the UK is in the first of four drought categories
On Tuesday (July 26), Department of Environment (Defra) officials and agencies including the Environment Agency are meeting with water companies and other groups including the National Farmers’ Union and the Country Land and Business Association to discuss how to protect water can deliveries.
The country is not in a widespread drought, but most of England – with the exception of the North West – has entered a state of “prolonged drought”.
This is the step before a drought is declared and raises the question of restrictions such as B. Hose forbidden.
In which areas is there a drought?
Much of England already has low river beds, affecting the quality and quantity of water. It also affects farmers and other water users, as well as wildlife.
Low groundwater levels, dry soil and low reservoirs were observed after months of below-average rainfall, with last week’s record-breaking heatwave putting additional pressure on water resources.
In Yorkshire, the Environment Agency has applied for a drought order for the Holme Styes reservoir in Holmfirth to protect wildlife after months of low rainfall.
Southern Water has also applied for a drought permit to test the river in Southampton, Hampshire as water levels fall. This approval could lead to the introduction of hose pipe bans – now known as “temporary use bans”.
The last time a drought was declared was in 2018, but with continued dry weather over the past few months, it’s possible another will be declared.
A dry spring and early summer have already dried up rivers and reservoirs, diluting water quality in many parts of England.
It has put most of the country into prolonged dry weather status – the first of four drought categories.
The second “drought” phase depends on when the rain returns and whether it is more or less than usual.
If it does rain, the odds could be washed away and rain forecasts for mid-August are increasing, although much dry weather is expected over the next few weeks.
If areas did enter the second “drought” phase, water utilities could limit non-essential domestic and commercial water use or apply for special permits to extract additional water from the environment.
Will hose assemblies be banned?
Currently there are no restrictions to combat drought, such as B. Hose bans.
However, water utilities are already pushing to conserve water given the hot and dry weather, and it’s possible there will be local bans if the dry weather continues.
August and September will be critical for farmers and there is an increasing risk of irrigation restrictions in localized areas.
What’s the prognosis for this week?
Forecasts are relatively uncertain after this week’s stable weather, but Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said drier weather in the south and wetter conditions in the north are likely.
He said: “The trend is that the south will see the balance of drier weather and the north will see the balance of wetter weather, which is what you would expect at this time of year.
“Even if you go into the middle of August, there will be more sustained rainfall overall in the northwest, while rainfall in the form of showers or thunderstorms will be seen in the south.”