Environment chiefs have warned that the ongoing drought which has forced water restrictions across much of East Anglia could continue beyond Christmas.

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The uncertainty over long-term weather prospects also prompted Anglian Water to underline the indefinite duration of its hosepipe ban, which will only be lifted when sufficient rain has fallen to replenish groundwater and reservoir supplies.

Yesterday, 17 counties in South West England and the Midlands were confirmed in official drought status, joining most of East Anglia and the South East, where the impacts of two dry winters had already taken their toll on rivers and aquifers.

Experts are now hoping for a steady rainy winter in 2012/13 to restore supplies, but the Environment Agency (EA) is working with the water industry to put plans in place for the worst-case scenario of a third dry winter.

Trevor Bishop, the EA’s head of water resources, said: “A longer term drought, lasting until Christmas and perhaps beyond, now looks more likely – and we are working with businesses, farmers and water companies to plan ahead to meet the challenges of a continued drought.

“While we’ve had some welcome rain recently, the problem has not gone away, and we would urge everyone – right across the country – to use water wisely now, which will help to prevent more serious impacts next year.”

An Anglian Water spokesman said yesterday’s EA announcements would not affect the hosepipe ban which it enforced on its customers earlier this month.

He said: “We’ve always said that what we need to reverse this drought, and to allow us to lift the ban on the use of hosepipes, is a prolonged period of above average rainfall.

“We’ve introduced a hosepipe ban now because we’re already thinking about 2013, and the prospect of a third dry winter. We’re taking prudent and precautionary steps now to ensure that, should the worst happen and we have another winter of low rainfall, we are in the best position we can be to maintain customers’ supplies.

“We have been looking ahead and planning for the long-term, investigating options to ease the effects of the drought on our customers. These include moving water around our region, getting on top of the issues of leakage, and making sure we capture every drop of rain that we can.

“This is all in addition to the measures we’re asking our customers to take with our ‘Drop 20’ campaign, calling on them to use 20 litres less each, per day, as a way of beating the drought.”

The EA has called on businesses to join householders in saving water. The agency is also working to help farmers top up their storage reservoirs and is preparing for a potential increase in environmental incidents where wildlife could be at risk during the summer, by stepping up river monitoring and increasing supplies of water aeration and fish rescue equipment.

7 comments

  • Is this serious or not? As for some like the GNDP it would appear to mean very little as they are pressing ahead with the plans for thousands of more houses which will put even more pressure on this valuable resource.

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    Unemployed and Luvin it.

    Monday, April 16, 2012

  • andrew proctor of broadland council--the infrastructure will be in place". the building plans are all sorted out and ready to be rubber stamped.none rejected.

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    bookworm

    Monday, April 16, 2012

  • And still the building of new houses goes on, uncontrolled

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    "V"

    Monday, April 16, 2012

  • andrew proctor of broadland council--the infrastructure will be in place". the building plans are all sorted out and ready to be rubber stamped.none rejected.

    Report this comment

    bookworm

    Monday, April 16, 2012

  • Does anyone know how much water the proposed EfW incinerator at King Lynn would use annually and what is the source for any forthcoming information?

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    Joyce

    Monday, April 16, 2012

  • Time to start saving some rain for future use - check out your rain saving potential by drawing a box over your roof via Google high res imagery here: http:www.save-the-rain.com

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    Mark Laudon

    Monday, April 16, 2012

  • My daughters pet tortoise Speedy Gonzales, has gone back into hibernation, peed off with the 'drought'. Soggy freezing spring weather can only be on the horizon for the next few days or even weeks. I await for the rich old farmers to start moaning about flooded fields blah blah.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, April 16, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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