Published on 10 - June - 2011
Drought declared in parts of UK but hosepipe ban "unlikely", says DefraDefra and the Environment Agency announce that parts of the Anglian region are now officially in a state of drought, with other areas on the brink, but reassures that water supplies are high enough to cope with dry conditions.
A second drought summit has now been planned following what has been the driest spring on record since 1990 for some parts of the UK. Areas in the South West, South East, Midlands and Wales are said to be experiencing near-drought conditions and are "giving grounds for concern", according to Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman.
However, she added that, "water companies are confident that supplies are high enough so that widespread restrictions to the public are unlikely."
On May 23 Anglian Water revealed it had written to the region's MP's to reassure them that the company's reservoirs were around 90% full and that it "will not be restricting supplies or introducing hosepipe bans this year". Managing director Peter Simpson stated: "Our water supplies are secure for the year, even if high temperatures continue well into the summer".
However, earlier this week Severn Trent Water said there is "an increasing likelihood of water restrictions in some parts of the UK", unless we see an increase in rainfall in the near future. It added that the situation is under constant review and that it is "looking at every option". While the water company's reservoirs were 99% full by March 7, the long dry spell and increased consumer demand has taken its toll.
Utility companies, farmers, water companies and environment groups are meeting today to discuss what can be done to share resources, as well as save water and prepare for future dry conditions.
Although some areas across the country have benefited from recent rainfall, Defra explains this has done little to improve the situation in the driest areas.
The Environment Agency's chief executive Dr Paul Leinster said: "The Environment Agency, water companies and other water users have plans in place to cope with drought to ensure there is enough water for people, businesses and the environment."
Last July United Utilities imposed a hosepipe ban in the north west of England, as reservoir levels remain low. The ban, which was lifted the following month, was the first in the area for 14 years.
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