According to an Environment Agency press release concerning the current drought in South West England:
As many parts of the world experience extreme heatwaves and severe drought, the Environment Agency will continue to prepare for all weather eventualities for the rest of summer and autumn, it confirmed this week.
At this week’s meeting of the National Drought Group (Wednesday 19 July) – chaired by Environment Agency Executive Director John Leyland – senior decision-makers from the Environment Agency, government, water companies and key farming and environmental groups discussed how to best manage water resources and ensure preparedness if hot, dry weather returns to this country.
The group also discussed how we can no longer rely on past weather patterns and that the best time to conserve water is when it is raining.
National Drought Group members heard that:
- Following the hottest June on record, July has started wet in many places. Rivers that were struggling with low flows have responded with most now back into normal ranges.
- Despite recent wet weather, the Environment Agency continues to prepare for all weather eventualities for the rest of summer and autumn. This includes closely monitoring the environment and ensuring we understand the risks if dry weather returned.
- In June, the Environment Agency attended 58 incidents, including rescuing fish and deploying aerators, which are used to oxygenate water. Fishery owners were prepared for such events, as a result of advice given by the Environment Agency.
- The Environment Agency is working with South West Water to investigate and potentially open up new sources of water to help improve the drought situation.
- The Environment Agency is encouraging farmers to review their water needs and apply for changes to abstraction licences if necessary.
Water Minister Rebecca Pow said:
With demand for water growing and challenges from climate change, this government is acting now to ensure England’s water system is resilient and prepared for future droughts.
Through our Plan for Water, we are funding more on-farm reservoirs and better irrigation equipment for farmers, have secured significant investment to increase our water resilience, and are ensuring key water supply infrastructure, such as reservoirs, can be built more quickly.
Whilst we all have an important role to play in preserving water resources, water companies must also step up their efforts, including by reducing leakage and encouraging water efficiency.
And just in case anybody in this neck of the woods needs reminding, there is also this piece of information further down in the press release:
Hosepipe bans remain in place for Devon and Cornwall to help manage demand with water supply reservoirs still recovering from last year’s drought.