The current drought the UK is facing at the moment hasn’t shown any signs of improvement with a further 17 English counties now being declared as official drought zones.
The Environment Agency has warned the UK that water shortages could last until Christmas if the dry weather continues. The drought map has now been extended to the Midlands affecting Staffordshire and Derbyshire and the South West including Devon and Cornwall.
Dry weather for most of the UK over the past few months is one of the reasons the drought has been extended as rivers remain exceptionally low. However public water is not expected to be affected but people are still being warned to use water wisely.
The hosepipe ban remains to be in place for parts of the Southern and Eastern areas of England affecting 20 million customers. This has not been extended to other parts of England yet but could be a possibility if the dry weather continues.
Farmers and wildlife are suffering as a result of the drought due to winter only receiving 60% of the average rainfall leaving crops dry and wildlife at risk. It is hoped over Spring and Summer that rainfall will increase slightly enabling crops and wildlife to improve but it wouldn’t solve the problem of the drought.
Head of water resources at the Environment Agency Trevor Bishop said: “A longer-term drought, lasting until Christmas and perhaps beyond, now looks more likely.
“We are working with businesses, farmers and water companies to plan ahead to meet the challenges of a continued drought.
“While we've had some welcome rain recently, the problem has not gone away and we would urge everyone - right across the country - to use water wisely now, which will help to prevent more serious impacts next year.”
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By Amanda Bainbridge