Experts warn that drought in England may continue in the new year drought

Ministers have been told that southeast England could experience a devastating and severe drought without above-average rain this winter, while current restrictions on water use in London and surrounding areas are expected to continue into the new year even if the rains return. Severe dehydration could mean stricter restrictions, such as banning non-essential water uses including window cleaning and swimming pool filling and maintenance.

Although it’s too early to predict the weather for this winter, anything less than heavy rain could put London under stricter measures next year, experts said. observer. A British government source said officials had been told to prepare for a possible severe drought across the southeast.

Drought is divided into four categories: prolonged dry weather, drought, severe drought, and recovery from drought. If autumn and winter do not result in heavy rains, ministers have been warned, in a briefing I have seen observerthen the Southeast could reach a severe drought early next year, necessitating much greater restrictions on water use.

River flows are now lower than those seen in 2012, when Drought was declared in February after a dry winterLondon Approaching severe water shortage Just months before the Olympics. “It saved us Heavy rain from April 2012which means lower flows rather than shutting down London.” Of the many impending droughts in recent years, he said, “this drought is the worst yet.”

The effect is likely to be Hitting the natural environment and farming is more difficult than captivityAccording to Alastair Chisholm, Director of Policy at the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management. Water companies will do everything they can to avoid this Rationing or vertical pipes, but farmers can expect less favorable treatment. “The environment, agriculture and everything else goes out the window when compared to public health and the need for a continuous water supply to people,” he said.

Ministers were told this week that farmers – Face the ruin of up to half of their crops – Only one month of water left, as clouds levels are now as high as they were in November, observer can reveal. Environmental groups have also warned that some rivers are reaching a “point of no return” because they are drying up in stagnant pools.

The drought has been officially announced Friday in eight of England’s 14 regions, with further review, after Friday’s meeting of the National Drought Group, made up of the Environment Agency and other officials, water companies, water regulator Ofwat, and agriculture and conservation leaders. groups. The expected thunderstorms from Sunday will do little to alleviate dry conditions, as rain pours in from dry, compacted soil, and flash floods are possible.

Five water companies have announced a ban on water cannons so far, but farmers have demanded more. Although the ban can be officially lifted once the situation improves, local officials in the heavily affected southeast of England are preparing for the restrictions to last until Christmas or the New Year. observer Learn.

Top view of spectators sitting on benches in the dry grass
Spectators at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday, August 13th. Photography: Steve Baston/PA

Winter will be decisive, said Liz Stevens, associate professor of meteorology at the University of Reading. We are very concerned about what the next few months will hold. If rainfall drops below average in the fall and winter, we will be in a very dangerous situation by spring.” He added, “If this weather continues, we will need a wetter than average winter to recover.”

“You can look at those graphs from the meeting, even if we get precipitation somewhere near average, if we get river levels assuming 80 percent or 60 percent of the average,” said Stuart Singleton-White, of the Angling Trust. ​​Long-term precipitation in the next two months, we may avoid it [severe drought]but the level of confidence even reaching 60 percent is low.

“Even if we get rain, it will not reach our rivers and aquifers because it will be used to re-wet the very dry soil. Unless there is heavy rain for a very long time, we will see an extended drought into next year and possibly a severe drought.”

Experts said England was in a better position to withstand drought than they did In 2012when a series of dry winters from 2009 to 2010 seriously depleted groundwater sources, leading to the emergence of An unusual announcement of the spring drought of that year. By contrast, good precipitation levels in late 2021 and early this year have recharged groundwater sources, which are declining but not yet at critical levels.

“This drought came really fast,” Chisholm said. “A lot of times we’ve seen droughts after a dry winter, but this year it’s really all been scaled up really well. We went really quickly from good to breaking drought records.”

This article was modified August 14, 2022. Tony Juniper is not the “outgoing” president of Natural England as stated in an earlier release.

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