Don’t rely on weather alone say National Drought Group

Experts have urged water companies and individuals to focus on preserving water now to get ahead of future dry spells, after the country experienced contrasting weather bouts over the past couple of months.

At today’s meeting of the National Drought Group (NDG), chaired by Environment Agency Executive Director John Leyland, the group highlighted the importance of not relying on the weather alone to keep drought at bay.

Whilst much of England is in a better position than last year, two Environment Agency areas remain in drought – East Anglia, as well as Devon and Cornwall. South West Water will also introduce an additional temporary use ban on hosepipes in the Roadford area in Devon on Tuesday 25 April. Across the country, we experienced the driest February in 30 years followed by the wettest March in 40 years.

The National Drought Group – made up of senior decision-makers from the Environment Agency, government, the Met Office, water companies and key farming and environmental groups – are preparing for the worst case scenario of another hot, dry spell this summer and are managing water resources to reduce the risk of drought measures accordingly.

As of the beginning of April, total reservoir capacity across the country was at 94%. This compares with 49% at the end of September 2022, when reservoirs were at their lowest following the drought through summer. Reservoir stocks at the end of March increased at all but two reservoirs.

The group discussed how water companies must reduce leakage, decrease water consumption and find new ways of being resilient to drought. This builds on the government’s new Plan for Water, which sets out measures to increase our resilience to drought and ease pressures on our water supply.

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