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  • Writer's pictureNEMM

Drought confirmed in East Midlands as no rain forecast

The National Drought Group, made up of senior decision makers from the Environment Agency, government, water companies and key representative groups, joined by Water Minister Steve Double, met today (12 August) to discuss the response to the driest summer in fifty years and the continued action needed.

The group discussed the current outlook and the associated risks and impacts and agreed to further collaborative work across sectors to balance water needs and conserve water.

At the meeting, the Environment Agency said that the drought trigger threshold had been met to move parts of the South West, parts of Southern and Central England, and the East of England into Drought.

The Environment Agency has confirmed Drought status in eight of its 14 areas:

  • Devon and Cornwall

  • Solent and South Downs

  • Kent and South London

  • Herts and North London

  • East Anglia

  • Thames

  • Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire

  • East Midlands

Local water provider Severn Trent is asking people to use water wisely as demand increases to some of the highest peaks on record.

As a result of preparation work throughout the year to remain resilient and protect water supplies, the Severn Trent network is in a good position, yet with no rain in the forecast, these extreme weather conditions could continue to increase demand.

Dry fields showing the extent of the recent hot weather. Photo: NEMM Sophie Evans-Young, Water Efficiency Manager at Severn Trent said: “As the glorious summer sunshine continues, there’s naturally a greater demand for water so our teams are working around the clock to keep the network in good shape. “Our region has experienced the driest July in a century and with no rainfall in the forecast, we’re asking people to be mindful of their water use, as small behavioural changes can add up to a big difference."

“We’d like to thank all our customers for their continued support as the warm and dry weather continues into the summer.” Severn Trent hasn’t had a temporary usage ban in 27 years, and instead is actively managing its Drought Action Plan, doing everything possible to meet demand in this hot weather, whilst caring for the environment. Severn Trent is pumping an extra hundred million litres of water into the network every day, while the number of tankers in the fleet has been doubled so water can be moved into supply more quickly than ever before.

Expert engineers are also fixing around 3,000 leaks a month, including a burst water main in Ab Kettleby, which can be caused by pipes bursting as a result of the ground drying up and moving due to the hot weather.

Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service have also been busy attending a number of large scale incidents and are asking the public to dispose of BBQs safely if people choose to have one.

A spokesperson said: "As temperatures soar, please ensure you are being cautious if you choose to have a BBQ. Please keep disposable BBQs raised off the ground and wait for them to fully cool down before disposing."

They have attended a lot of grass fires recently including one near Market Bosworth on Thursday where 6 fire engines attended a well established crop fire.

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