April showers ease water fears

PUBLIC WATER supplies, agricultural water stores and wildlife habitats have been replenished by April downpours.

The wettest April on record and continuing rain in May have significantly reduced the risks of serious drought and widespread water restrictions this summer, according to the Environment Agency.


In its latest ‘Water Resources and Drought Prospects’ report, the Environment Agency found that river levels and reservoir stocks have significantly improved, easing the pressure on the environment and water supplies.


Almost all reservoirs are now at least 75% full, while farm water reservoirs are now generally full and the likelihood of restrictions on spray irrigation has reduced. Further water restrictions for the public, farmers and businesses are now “increasingly unlikely”, the agency said.


But underground water levels are still low or exceptionally low in some areas, and some rivers are still at risk of drying up as ground water levels reduce over the summer. Groundwaters in some areas need 140% of long term rainfall this winter to recover fully.


Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Environment Agency, urged everyone to continue using water wisely to protect water supplies for agriculture and the environment.

“We have seen a huge improvement in water resources in just a few short months, putting us in a much more positive position for the summer. While the downpours in April were pretty miserable, they were really welcome as water companies were able to refill their reservoirs, river levels are mostly back to normal, and many wildlife habitats that were suffering have recovered.


“But while the risk of drought with further water restrictions and associated environmental impacts this summer has reduced, the situation could deteriorate again next year if there is not enough rain this winter. We are still working with partners, planning for the impacts that a third dry winter could have on next year’s water supplies.”