Half of Britain in drought

The Environment Agency has declared official drought zones in a further 17 English counties and warned the shortages could last until Christmas or beyond. It is the worst national water shortage since 1976.

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Summer rain 'not enough' to bring an end to the drought

Environmental experts say while rain over the spring and summer will help water crops and gardens, it is unlikely to bring an end to the drought.

  • It was hoped that a prolonged period of rainfall between October and March - known as the winter recharge period - would prevent widespread drought
  • But parts of England received less than 60% of the average winter rainfall
  • Water supplies have not been replenished

Water saving 'essential' in England's long drought

As more areas of the UK move into drought it is vital that we use less water to protect the public's water supply in the driest areas of the country. It is for everyone to share the responsibility to save water. We are asking everyone to help by using less water and starting now.

– Caroline Spelman MP, Environment Secretary

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Drought 'could last until Christmas'

Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Environment Agency, said: "A longer term drought, lasting until Christmas and perhaps beyond, now looks more likely.

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."

The Environment Agency is liaising with businesses, farmers and water companies to meet the challenges of a continued drought Credit: Reuters

Drought declared in 17 further English counties

The Environment Agency has declared official drought zones for a further 17 English counties today:

  • Nottinghamshire
  • Leicestershire
  • Derbyshire
  • Staffordshire
  • West Midlands
  • Warwickshire
  • Shropshire
  • Worcestershire
  • Herefordshire
  • Gloucestershire
  • Cornwall
  • Devon
  • Dorset
  • Somerset
  • Bristol
  • South Gloucestershire
  • Parts of Hampshire
  • Most of Wiltshire

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