Lack of rain is ‘sign of things to come’

Dry weather across much of England this spring is a sign of things to come, the government has warned.

Water companies must adopt long-term plans to avoid future water shortages, said environment minister Lord Henley.

April saw just 24% of average rainfall – a situation likely to repeat itself in future years due to the impact of climate change.

Lord Henley issued the warning after asking water companies to identify ways of mitigating the impact of climate change on supplies.

It follows a drought summit between Defra secretary Caroline Spelman, farm leaders and environmental organisations.

“The recent exceptionally dry weather is a snapshot of what we might expect from climate change,” said Lord Henley.

“Although there is no current need for drought measures, there has been understandable concern which underlines the importance of taking steps now to protect the water supply that could be under threat from a drier climate.”

Lord Henley was speaking during a visit to Rutland Water reservoir where he saw work done by Anglian Water to improve the resilience of their water supply.

Eastern England is the driest region of the UK, which last month saw just 5mm of rainfall – 11% of the monthly average.

Anglian Water has invested £116m at Rutland allowing up to 25% more water to be taken from the reservoir.

The reports identify that less rain, changing rainfall patterns and increased consumer demand in hot weather could affect water availability.


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