The south east of England could face a severe and devastating drought with above average rainfall this winter, while current water use restrictions in London and surrounding areas are expected to last before new year even if the rains return, the ministers were informed. A severe drought will mean even tighter restrictions such as bans on secondary use of water including cleaning windows and filling and maintaining swimming pools.
Although it’s too much soon predict weather for this winter, any less than heavy rainfall could lead much stricter measures apply to London next yearexperts said Observer. One Whitehall source said officials were ordered to prepare. for potential severe drought throughout the southeast.
Drought is divided into four categories: prolonged drought weather, drought, severe drought and drought recovery. If there are no heavy heavy rains in autumn and winter, the ministers have been warned, in briefing seen Observerthen the southeast can reach a severe drought early next year which requires much more constraints on water use.
River flows are now lower than those seen in 2012 when the drought was declared in February after a dry winter, and London was close to severe water shortages. just months ahead of Olympic Games. Tony Juniper, outgoing chairman of Natural England, said: “We’ve been saved by heavy rains since April 2012, which meant low flows. instead of London closes down”. Of several almost droughts in recent years, according to him, “this one far and away from the worst so far.”
The impact is likely hit natural environment and farming is harder than housekeeping, according to Alastair Chisholm, director of policy at the Chartered Institute of Water and environmental management. Water companies will do their best to avoid rationing or risers, but farmers may expect less favorable treatment. “environment, household and everything else just goes out of window compared with public health, and need keep people water supply running,” he said.
Ministers were informed this week that farmers – facing ruin of up to half their harvest is in effect Only one monthly water left since abstraction levels are now as high as usual in november, Observer can reveal. Conservation groups also warned that some rivers reach the “point of no return ‘as they dry up into stagnation pools.
A drought has been officially declared. on Friday in eight out of 14 regions of England, with more under reviewafter meeting on Friday of National Drought Control Group, made up of Environmental Protection Agency and other officials, water companies, water regulatory Ofwat, farm leaders and conservation groups. Thunderstorms expected from Sunday will do little to ease dry conditions as rain runs off dry and compacted soil, and flash floods possible.
Five water companies have announced hose bans so far, but the farmers called for more. Although officially bans can be raised as soon as the situation improves, in hard hit southeast of Local authorities in England are preparing for restrictions on last until Christmas or new year, Observer found out.
Liz Stevens, lawyer professor of meteorology at the University of Reading, said the winter would be decisive. “We are very concerned over what the next will last a few months. If we receive below average rainfall in in autumn and winter we would in a very serious situation by spring.” He added: “If this weather saved, we will need the winter is much wetter than usual to recover.”
Stuart Singleton-White of the Angling Trust said: “Look at these charts from the meeting, even if we have near-average rainfall, if we get river levels suggesting 80 percent or 60 percent. of long term average rainfall in in next pair of months, then we can avoid [severe drought]but confidence level of even up to 60 percent is not enough.
“Even if we have rain, it will not end up in our rivers and our aquifers because it will be used to re-wet very dry soil. If we don’t have significant rain for for a very long time we will extended drought next year and possibly severe drought.”
The experts said that England in a better position to withstand drought than in 2012 when series of dry winters 2009-10 severely depleted groundwater sources, leading to an unusual statement of spring drought, which year. Against, good rainfall in end of 2021 and beginning of this year rechargeable groundwater sources that are falling but not yet critical levels.
Chisholm said: “This drought has come very quickly. More often we have seen drought after a dry winter, but this year all resources were really well topped up. We went from normal to record-breaking very quickly. for drought.”