Drought declared for parts of England after driest summer for 50 années

Drought declared for parts of England after driest summer for 50 années
The change could lead to more measures such as hosepipe bans.

A drought has been declared for parts of Angleterre following the driest summer for 50 années.

The conditions, which have almost completely deprived some areas of rainfall all summer, have prompted the National Drought Group to move parts of the South West, parts of southern and central England, and the East of England into official drought status.

The change could lead to more measures such as hosepipe bans, pourtant, les Agence environnementale has reassured the public that essential water supplies are safe.

Dry earth on the banks of Grafham Water near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, where water is receding during the drought (PA/ Joe Giddens)
Dry earth on the banks of Grafham Water near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, where water is receding during the drought (PA/ Joe Giddens)

The NDG is made up of representatives from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Défra), water companies, the Environment Agency (ELLE), the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Natural England, Consumer Council for Water, water services regulator Ofwat, Water UK and the Drinking Water Inspectorate, as well as the Angling Trust and the Rivers Trust.

At a meeting earlier this summer, it moved most of England into “prolonged dry weather” status, the first of four stages used to describe its response.

Huit de 14 les zones désignées par l'EA sont maintenant passées à la "sécheresse", la deuxième étape, y compris le Devon et les Cornouailles, Solent et South Downs, Kent et sud de Londres, Herts et le nord de Londres, Est-Anglie, Tamise, Lincolnshire et Northamptonshire, et East Midlands.

Water minister Steve Double said action was already being taken by the Government, the EA and others to manage the impacts.

“All water companies have reassured us that essential supplies are still safe, and we have made it clear it is their duty to maintain those supplies”, il a dit.

“We are better prepared than ever before for periods of dry weather, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation, including impacts on farmers and the environment, and take further action as needed.”

The most recent EA data showed rainfall totals for August have ranged from 12% of the long-term average in north east England to 0% in south east and south west England.

pendant ce temps, river flow data revealed almost 90% of measuring sites were showing below normal readings, avec 29% classed as “exceptionally low”.

It comes after the driest July on record for some areas and the driest first half of the year since 1976.

Four water companies, Welsh Water, Eau du Sud, Thames Water, and South East Water have all imposed hosepipe bans, while Yorkshire Water has announced a ban will start on August 26.

The heat and dry conditions have also taken their toll on agriculture.

A dried out field near Bristol, where the prolonged dry conditions, have left the parched land turning from green to brown. A drought is set to be declared for some parts of England on Friday, with temperatures to hit 35C making the country hotter than parts of the Caribbean.Picture date: Friday August 12, 2022.
A dried out field near Bristol, where the prolonged dry conditions, have left the parched land turning from green to brown. A drought is set to be declared for some parts of England on Friday, with temperatures to hit 35C making the country hotter than parts of the Caribbean.Picture date: Friday August 12, 2022.

Selon le NFU, crops such as sugar beet and maize are showing signs of stress from a lack of rain, while crops relying on irrigation, such as field vegetables and potatoes, are also facing problems.

NFU deputy president Tom Bradshaw said the situation was “hugely challenging” for farmers who were facing running out of irrigation water and having to use winter feed for animals because of a lack of grass.

The NFU also said “tinder dry” standing crops and parched grass posed a huge risk of fires spreading.

Mark Hardingham, chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council, mentionné: “While we are likely to see more wildfires due to the current conditions, it is impossible to say whether this will be more than when the country experienced 40-degree temperatures.

“The bigger risk at the moment is a combination of temperature and wind speed, which will contribute to fire spread and makes incidents harder to manage and extinguish.”

pourtant, he added brigades were “well prepared and have plans in place” to respond.

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