Rain brings relief but drought continues

River Ouze
This week has been the UK's wettest of 2012 Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

April's heavy rainfall has boosted river levels and provided relief for farmers, gardeners and wildlife in drought areas.

But groundwater levels remain low and the rain is not yet making a difference to the drought conditions, warned the Environment Agency today.

Soil left dry by prolonged dry weather is increasing the risk of flash floods as heavy rain quickly runs off hard, compacted ground.

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Standpipes 'could return'

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has raised the possibility of standpipes returning to UK streets if the country is hit by a third dry winter in a row.The warning comes as fears of further flooding remain following heavy rains.