Parts of England declare a drought: what does it mean?

The declaration does not trigger government-level intervention, but allows water companies to go further in their steps to manage supplies

Reuters
Published : 12 August 2022, 11:58 AM
Updated : 12 August 2022, 11:58 AM

The government formally declared parts of England to be in drought on Friday as the country faces a period of prolonged hot and dry weather.

The declaration does not trigger government-level intervention, but allows water companies to go further in their steps to manage supplies.

Below are some key details:

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A DROUGHT IS DECLARED?

- All water companies are required to have a drought plan in place setting out what restrictions they may put in place on their customers in the event of a drought.

- Water companies will implement these plans, which will include temporary water use restrictions such as hosepipe bans to reduce the demand for water.

- They can also apply for drought orders and permits which legally allow more flexibility in managing water resources including abstracting more water from rivers, reservoirs or aquifers.

- Restrictions can be put in place on non-essential water use including commercial car washes and swimming pools.

- Customers may be asked to access water from standpipes or mobile water tanks.

- Farmers could face restrictions on water usage for spray irrigation.

- The Environment Agency can ask the government to put in place restrictions on water use in industrial manufacturing or food processing which is having, or threatening to have, a severe impact on the environment or public water supply.

- Natural England, the government's conservation advisory body, may restrict access to some areas such as national nature reserves if there is a risk of fire caused by the dry conditions.

WHERE HAS A DROUGHT BEEN DECLARED?

- Devon and Cornwall

- Solent and South Downs

- Kent and South London

- Herts and North London

- East Anglia

- Thames

- Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire

- East Midlands

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher