Environment Agency Wales says it's concerned that low river levels, in South East Wales in particular, could damage wildlife. The Wye, Usk and Ebbw rivers are at, or near to, the lowest levels on record for this time of year. There is currently no risk to public water supply, but a shortage of water in some Welsh rivers could lead to problems for wildlife and the environment more widely, if the dry weather continues into the summer.
Large parts of England have already been declared in drought, with hosepipe bans imposed, to preserve public supply. Parts of the Midlands and the South West of England have been added to that list, due to the impact on the environment, not an imminent impact on the public.
– Chris Mills, Director, Environment Agency Wales
Most reservoirs in Wales are more than 90 per cent full at the moment so there is no problem with public water supply. However, this is only half the story. Rivers in Wales are affected quickly by a lack of rain, and some rivers are now very low despite the recent wet weather. Any further dry period could begin to affect wildlife and the wider environment so we are asking people to use water wisely and to help ensure our wildlife is protected.
Low rivers levels cause problems for species like salmon and sewin when they migrate to spawn, as well as worsening the effect pollution has on other fish and wildlife if there's an incident.
River levels are also below average across other parts of Wales. The Dee, Clwyd and Ceiriog in North Wales, and the Neath and Ystwyth in the South West are exceptionally low for April. Rainfall for March was the fifth lowest in a hundred years, 70 percent less than the average for the month.
Our cameras were able to film from the river bed earlier today because water levels were so low on the River Monnow.