UNITED KINGDOM: A deliberation conducted by climate experts has initiated a declaration of drought across wide swathes of England, as per reports by The Guardian.
Prolonged dry conditions including raging heat waves, little rain and parched lands after not receiving a significant amount of rainfall all summer, have compelled the National Drought Group to announce an urgency of drought, according to leaked documents from a key meeting on Friday seen by The Guardian.
The Environment Agency has predicted drought conditions in eight of its fourteen locales: Devon and Cornwall, Solent and South Downs, Kent and south London, Herts and north London, East Anglia, Thames, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and the east Midlands.
Additionally, the leaked documents also suggest that two other areas, Yorkshire and West Midlands, will also be affected similarly later in August.
The conference which discussed the details of the crisis was attended by representatives from several water companies, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency, the National Farmers’ Union, Natural England, CCW, Ofwat, Water UK and the Drinking Water Inspectorate, as well as the Angling Trust and the Rivers Trust.
The group deliberated earlier this summer to discuss the lack of rainfall in the country and decided to launch a “prolonged dry weather status”, the first of the four-stage process of emergency dry weather, and one step before the drought. Now, the country has been plunged into the second stage of barrenness.
Consequently, this poses a threat to severe water consumption and so, water will need to be cautiously rationed and retained all across the country, with fewer barriers for those companies who wish to ban customers from hosing or washing their car with tap water. Other severe restrictions can also be put into effect including the banning of sprinklers, and the cleaning of windows, buildings and vehicles.
Members of the National Drought Group have been alarmed with the statistical data acknowledging the limited amount of rainfall in the country in nearly decades, numbers so low that several rivers and reservoirs are at their last levels. Experts are only bracing themselves for the worst to come.
Catherine Sefton, a hydrologist at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said, “In the south-east of England, the continued dry weather means that many river flows remain notably or exceptionally low, and hydrological forecasts suggest this situation will persist over the next few months.“
“Where river flows are supported by groundwater that recharges during the winter months, the impact of dry weather is reduced. But a continuation of below-average rainfall into a second winter would likely result in serious hydrological and environmental drought, with the further intensification of the water supply restrictions and fish rescues that we are starting to see in the south-east,” it added.
While it is still yet inconclusive whether this year’s drought is caused by climate change, the extreme heat and drought-like conditions back in 2018 were found by the Met Office to have been made 30 times more likely due to climate change.