Drought confirmed for West Midlands after higher than average temperatures

Drought has been declared in the West Midlands Credit: ITV News Central

A drought has officially been declared in the West Midlands after a prolonged period of dry and hot weather in recent weeks.

Despite recent rainfall in areas across the West Midlands, the Environment Agency said it was not enough to replenish rivers or reservoirs to normal levels.

However, water officials said the drought is not a threat to essential water supplies.

A hosepipe ban has not been issued after water suppliers have confirmed there is enough water to meet business and household needs.

The National Drought Group met to declare the West Midlands as the tenth English region in drought. There are only four regions in England that are not in drought.

The Environment Agency says drought status will remain in place until the areas see a sustained average or above average rainfall in the coming months.

The chief executive of the Environment Agency, Sir James Bevan, said a "complete gear change" is necessary to prevent droughts in the future.

Managing water use is essential to reducing water pressure on wildlife and the environment, he urged.

Recent rainfall was not enough to replenish groundwork Credit: ITV News Central

He said: "Both for the coming year and, with the impact of climate change, for the coming decade, a complete gear change is needed for how water companies and all water users, from farmers to households, think about how they use water and understand its fundamental value."

"This summer should be a wake-up call for how the nation prepares for weather extremes and how we make the very best use of our water resources."

This summer has been the hottest on record with temperatures in the Midlands reaching highs of above 40 degrees.

It has also been the driest in history resulting in a large demand for water. Rivers, lakes, and reservoirs have dried out or seen significantly lower water levels, causing fish and wildlife to die.

Steve Double, Water Minister, also says more work needs to done to prevent water shortages and drought status.

He said: "We know essential water supplies are safe – but more work must be done to ensure that we push forward investment to cut leaks and better prepare for prolonged dry weather for this year, next year and the coming decade."

"Water companies need to be putting the needs of their bill payers front and centre of their plans – which means redoubling efforts to cut leakage and protect our natural environment."

What areas are in drought?

The 10 areas declared in drought by the Environment Agency are:

  • Devon and Cornwall/Isles of Scilly

  • Solent and South Downs

  • Thames; Hertfordshire and North London

  • Kent and South London

  • East Anglia

  • Lincolnshire

  • Northamptonshire

  • East Midlands

  • Yorkshire

  • West Midlands.

Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire, and Wessex have been declared in "prolonged dry weather."