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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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'Drought still at warning level one'

The Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has told ITV Daybreak that the UK is still only on "level one" in a three-tier drought warning system. It restricts "non-essential use of eater in domestic settings".

Level two would affect "non-essential water use in business". She said that we are unlikely to reach the most severe level, which would mean stand-pipes, but that if next winter is as dry as the last it could become a possibility.

She said that the drought affecting many parts of the UK was brought on by water leakages from pipes as well as the lack of rain, and advised viewers: "when you see a leak, report it".

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