12 April 1996

Yorks irrigation appeal

ENVIRONMENT watchdogs are appealing to farmers in drought hit West Yorks and the East Riding to minimise irrigation water use.

The Environment Agency, launched last week, has warned that it may prevent abstraction if the drought continues. Flows in the River Hull have fallen in recent weeks and other rivers are lower than normal, as winter rainfall has been about 40% below average. Sue Slack, Environment Agency water manager for the North East region said it was possible, in some farming areas, for drainage boards to retain a higher than normal summer water level in field drainage systems and the agency wanted to discuss this.

"We are also looking at ways of managing our own drainage systems to help retain as much water as possible for irrigation," she said. &#42