Drought has been declared over much of England

published on Friday, August 12, 2022 at 8:06 pm.

After the wettest start to the year in almost half a century, England was largely declared in a state of drought on Friday, which introduced further local restrictions on water use.

The measure, declared for the first time since 2018, affects many areas including London, where the green of the lawns gives way to a straw yellow, the Thames Valley and much of the south, center and east. east of England.

Announced after an emergency meeting called by the environmental agency, it comes in the middle of a heat wave in the United Kingdom, the second of the summer, in a country that is not used to high temperatures. According to scientists, these periods will increase, lengthen and intensify under the effect of global warming.

An orange “severe heat” alert has been in place since Thursday for much of southern England and parts of Wales.

If the absolute record of 40.3 °C achieved on July 20 is not surpassed, temperatures of up to 35 °C are expected on Friday, and even 36 °C at the end of the week.

These temperatures come after the driest July on record in some areas. England suffered its driest first half since 1976, with winter and spring failing to bring the usual rainfall.

“Water supplies are safe,” the ministry and the environment agency said in a statement, adding that authorities called on water companies to “continue precautionary planning to protect critical supplies if there is a disaster.” dry autumn”.

The state of drought declared on Friday aims to ensure that water companies launch their plans to deal with water shortages, including bans on watering, washing cars and filling swimming pools for those details.

One of the operators of the water distribution network, Yorkshire Waters, announced such a move from August 26, joining many other companies in the south of the country.

– Criticized by companies –

Some distribution companies have been criticized for failing to meet their anti-leakage targets.

“Progress has been made in recent years, but there is still a long way to go,” said sector regulator Ofwat, urging water companies to “reduce leakage”, “improve their environmental performance and become more financially stable. cheap bills” and “helping them reduce their consumption”.

“It’s going to be difficult for us,” said Claire Connarty, 61, interviewed by AFP at a nursery in Kent (south-east), where consumption restrictions began on Friday.

He showed himself angry against the water distribution companies: “They should act more, there are leaks everywhere but they want us to ration ourselves”, exclaimed this administrative assistant , owner of many potted plants that require frequent watering.

“These are things that happen,” comments, more understanding, Barry Martin, a 62-year-old retiree, who has been collecting water from the shower for his plants. The ban on watering the lawn doesn’t bother him: “I’m not trying to save the grass, it will recover” when the rain returns, he philosophizes.

The situation is that the source of the Thames will dry up and the river that crosses London will only begin to flow about eight kilometers further downstream, an unprecedented.

Water reservoirs, at 65% capacity, are at their lowest level since 1995.

Plant fires are increasing, to the point that some supermarket chains have stopped selling disposable barbecues, and authorities are urging caution near cliffs, which are particularly dangerous. -crack in hot weather.

“We are better prepared than ever for periods of hot weather, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation, including the impact on farmers and the environment, and take further action if necessary,” assured the secretary of State in charge of Water, Steve Doble.

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