Drought officially declared in parts of UK

Prolonged heat wave, minimal rainfall could lead to water rationing as dry spell continues.

Drought officially declared in parts of UK

A drought has been officially declared in parts of the UK as rising temperatures and minimal rainfall have led to increasingly dry conditions.

Affected areas of the country are largely based in south, central and eastern England.

The announcement, made by the National Drought Group of Environmental Agency (EA), will see restrictions being implemented on the commercial use of water in the affected areas.

“An increased chance of warm conditions through August to October is consistent with an increased westerly flow from warmer than average seas, and our warming climate,” the Guardian newspaper quoted the EA as saying.

“With a typical north-west (wetter) to south-east (drier) gradation in rainfall most likely, there are no strong signals for a significant amelioration of current dry conditions,” it added.

The announcement was made after the UK experienced its second heat wave in August following a record-breaking first in July. The August heat wave, however, is expected to last longer with prolonged dry weather and minimal rainfall.

On Tuesday, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) released an amber extreme heat warning that will be in place until Sunday. Furthermore, an increasing number of water companies are imposing a hosepipe ban in parts of England to reserve the commercial use of water.

Across the UK, rivers and reservoirs have dried up and water tanks have been sent to a number of small villages after their water reservoirs dried up. The dry weather has also led to an uptick in the number of wildfires which have strained fire services and endangered the public.

There are three stages of drought; the yellow stage where heat impacts wildlife and plants, the amber stage where water supplies and agricultural output are strained and the red stage with widespread long-term environmental damage, spread of wildfires, crop and plant failures and shortage or failure of drinking water supplies.

Recent droughts were declared in 2018 and 2011.