While the entire French territory has been affected by the drought, the situation is getting worse across the Channel. A drought was declared on Friday 12 August in much of England, the British government announced, after an emergency meeting held by the Environment Agency.
The alert, which has not been announced since 2018, concerns 14 regions including London, the Thames Valley and much of southern, central and eastern England. If, as in France, it can lead to measures amounting to restrictions on the use of water, it comes at a time when the UK is experiencing its second heat wave in summer, in a country unaccustomed to high temperatures.
Coldest July Since 1976
However, the UK recorded the driest month on record in some parts and the driest first half since 1976. The situation is that the source of the Thames has dried up and the river that flows through London cannot begin to flow for another 8 km. downstream.
Vegetation fires are increasing; In London gardens and in much of the country, the usual green of lawns gave way to yellow and dusty straw, owing to a drought.
An orange ‘severe heat’ warning has been in effect since Thursday and runs until Friday across much of southern England and part of Wales, according to Britain’s National Weather Service, the Met Office. While the all-time high of 40.3 degrees recorded on July 20 should not be exceeded, temperatures are expected to reach 36 degrees through the end of the weekend.
Water supply is guaranteed at the moment
Safe water supplyHowever, the ministry and the Environment Agency said in a press release, while companies in the sector demanded “Continue preventive planning in order to protect essential supplies in the event of an autumn drought”.
“We call on everyone to manage the amount of water they use in this exceptionally dry period”said the Executive Director of the Environment Agency, Harvey Bradshaw. “We are better prepared than ever for periods of hot weather, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation, including the impact on farmers and the environment, and will take additional measures if necessary.”Secretary of State for Water Steve Doble added.
Thus, the drought announced Friday is aimed at ensuring water companies deploy their contingency plans to deal with water shortages, including bans on irrigation, car washing and filling swimming pools for people.
Yorkshire Water, one of the water distribution network operators, has announced that these measures will come into effect from August 26, as have many other companies. In Kent, on the southeast coast of the English Channel, those restrictions went into effect on Friday. In London, they should move forward in the coming weeks.