Yorkshire Water to increase extraction from River Ouse to combat drought

The drought measures have been put in place to protect reservoir levels through winter. Credit: Yorkshire Water

A series of drought measures have been granted in Yorkshire to help protect reservoir levels through the winter.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has approved a drought order which will mean Yorkshire Water can increase the amount of water it extracts from the River Ouse.

The Environment Agency (EA) has also issued drought permits that will allow the company to conserve water in 12 reservoirs across Wharfedale, Bingley, Shipley, Craven, Yeadon, Baildon and the Worth Valley.

Yorkshire officially moved to drought status on 15 August after six months of below average rainfall combined with high temperatures.

People walk on the dry cracked earth at Baitings Reservoir in Ripponden, West Yorkshire Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Polly Hardy, head of asset strategy and policy at Yorkshire Water, said: "Although we’ve seen some patches of rain across Yorkshire recently, there is still a long way to go until reservoirs are at a healthy level.

"We are going to need quite a lot of wet weather over the next few months before they return to their usual levels, so it’s really important that people keep taking steps to save water."

Yorkshire Water introduced a hosepipe ban in August due to the low reservoir levels.

While this has helped, reservoir levels across Yorkshire are still around 25% lower than they were at this time last year.

Reservoir stocks in the Worth Valley are also being supported by a £2 million temporary pipe scheme that transfers water from Calderdale to the Worth Valley.

The EA said it was satisfied that the low reservoir levels are due to an "exceptional shortage of rain" and that it had seen evidence of Yorkshire Water's commitment to promoting water efficiency.

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