A ban could be imposed on filling public swimming pools, maintaining ponds, washing cars and cleaning offices and shops like England Keep running out of waterThe Guardian can reveal it.
Despite recent periods of rain, the country, especially in the south and east, has not received enough rain to replenish depleted rivers and reservoirs.
Leaked documents from the National Drought Group, seen by the Guardian, say bans on non-essential use are being studied by some water companies.
The group is made up of government agencies, NGOs, and water companies, and together they decide how to tackle drought conditions.
The Hosepipe ban is still in place across the country, including Yorkshire, London and swathes of the South and Southeast England.
The next step, which can be implemented this month, will be to ban all non-essential uses of water. This will include a ban on washing vehicles and non-domestic buildings, as well as a ban on filling water bodies including swimming pools and ponds. This is a relatively drastic measure that has not been instituted during recent droughts. In 1976, after 16 months of low rainfall, the government required households to cut the water supply in half.
The document reveals that companies looking to apply for more drought orders in September include Southwest Watersouthern waters, Yorkshire waters, southeast waters, Severn Trent waters and Thames waters.
Such strict measures may be required to protect the public water supply, which may be at risk if dry conditions persist.
The leaked minutes reveal that experts aren’t expecting enough rain to mitigate the dry weather.
they say that [three-month] Forecasts show the risk of continued drought conditions in the southern and eastern UK, with few indications of rainfall needed to end the current drought conditions.”
farmers were Represented at the meeting of the National Drought Cluster by the National Farmers Union, which warned attendees that “many have little or no water” and that many crops have been significantly affected by the lack of rain. They said some farmers were sacrificing some crops to save others, with lower yields.
When rivers and reservoirs run low, water companies extract from aquifers, but they also dry up, with little sign of being recharged as rains prepare for next year.
The latest projections from the UK Center for Environment and Hydrology indicate: “September groundwater levels are likely to be below normal across northern aquifer regions, and below normal in the south (with exceptionally low levels continuing in some wells). The three-month outlook comes to a similar picture, but with levels skewed towards normal, further south, although there is a lot of uncertainty looking ahead to the recharge season.”
This year, parts of England experienced the driest conditions in nearly a century, with most of the country officially experiencing a drought. Eleven of the Environment Agency’s 14 regions have been granted drought status, which means there are concerns about water supplies.
Extremely hot and dry conditions have hit crops, fueled wildfires and led to a significant increase in water demand, with impacts on the environment including drying up of rivers and ponds, and the death or suffering of fish and other wildlife.
The problem affects all of Europe. Nearly half of the European Union’s 27 countries are under a drought warning, with conditions in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Spain deteriorating.
Water UK, which represents the water companies, declined to comment.