4 April 1997

EA irrigation bans will start earlier this year

RESTRICTIONS and bans on spray irrigation are set to come into effect earlier than last year in most eastern areas of the country. The past 23 months have been the driest this century, says the Environment Agency.

Prospects in the Anglian region are said to be "generally poor, locally moderate". In some areas groundwater levels are the lowest on record.

"The response to winter rainfall has been patchy. As a result, restrictions in some areas are probable and in others are likely to be determined by summer rainfall and temperatures," says Graham Wilson, regional water resources manager.

The agency will seek voluntary savings on groundwater abstraction where the environment is particularly susceptible to damage. Restrictions cannot be ruled out, and some areas will be affected by early April, it adds.

Holders of licences governed by water flow can also expect restrictions or bans earlier than last season, it says (see box).


&#8226 Lincs – Low flows affecting Rivers Lymm, Bain, Barlings Eau, Lower Welland and Glen. Restrictions likely.

&#8226 Cambs, Suffolk, Essex – Low flows affecting most rivers. Prospects particularly poor if dry weather continues.

&#8226 Norfolk – Most rivers fed from groundwater, levels of which higher than other areas. Moderate risk of restrictions.