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England could be in drought beyond spring 2023

Ministers have warned that England could be in drought beyond spring 2023 after a record low rainfall.

Even after an average amount of rainfall in September, the country has found itself short of water after a dry spring and summer.

Farmers in particular are hoping for a damp autumn and winter so that soil is dampened and reservoirs refilled ready for them to plant and harvest their crops into next year.

For England to come out of drought there will need to be consistent above average rainfall during autumn and winter but the indications are that this will not happen. The latest forecast from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology shows river flows set to be exceptionally low throughout October.

Trudy Harrison, water minister, said: “The record-breaking temperatures, unusually low rainfall and widespread drought the country has experienced this year are a reminder that we need to adapt to ensure our water supplies are resilient and secure in future.

“The work of the National Drought Group is ensuring that we can manage down the risk of continuing drought conditions, so that the impact is less severe for all of us.”

There has been a hosepipe ban in place for months for millions of people across the country but this might be escalated. Water companies may introduce more drastic measures including a potential ban on refilling ponds and swimming pools and the cleaning of non-residential buildings.

John Martin