Somerset placed in drought
The Environment Agency has today agreed that all of the South West of England is now in drought. That includes Somerset and Dorset for the first time. This follows some of the driest conditions in nearly 90 years.
While the area has had some rainfall over the last 2 weeks, this has not been sufficient to compensate for the long dry period in recent months. There have been 5 consecutive months of below average rainfall across all geographic regions in England and above average temperatures. River flows, groundwater levels and reservoir stocks all decreased during July.
The EA say by waiting until now to declare a drought, it has given their response team time to consider the effects of the rainfall.
The EA tell us that Essential water supplies are safe. However they are urging water companies to continue with their precautionary planning to protect essential supplies in the event of a dry autumn.
While there is an important role for people to sustainably manage their usage, Government expects water companies to act to reduce leakage and fix leaking pipes as quickly as possible and take wider action alongside government policy.
Public and businesses in drought affected areas urged to use water wisely. However for now there are no specific restrictions being introduced. These may follow if the situation worsens.