Hosepipe Bans

Low summer rainfall

July 2022 was the driest July in England since 1911 – 16mm  of rain fell in England which was only 25% of the normal amount.  East Anglia and southeast England both had considerably less rain than usual. Since the start of 2022, only February has had average rainfall.  All other months have had below average rainfall.  The 8-month period from November 2021 to June 2022 has been the driest in England since 1975/76, with an average of 421mm of rain falling in England, 74% of the 1991-2020 long-term average of 568 mm.

Climate change

Projections  made by the Met Office indicate a trend towards hotter and drier summers for the UK, especially in the south and east. In 2022 not only has it been drier than normal but it has also been hotter.  Temperatures have been above average.  Heatwaves occurred  between 10th-13th July 2022, from the 16th with an exceptionally hot spell during the 18th and 19th July. The average maximum temperature across the UK is 21.5°C, 2°C higher than the UK average for the month and is one of  the top five warmest Julys on record.  2006 was the warmest July on record in the UK with an average maximum temperature of 23.3°C.

Is there a drought?

The Environment Agency has urged people across the country to use water wisely to protect water supplies and the environment during the current period of prolonged dry weather but so far has not declared a drought.

On Tuesday 26 July the National Drought Group,  met to discuss the low rainfall totals. This group is made up of representatives from  the Environment Agency, government, water companies, Water UK, the NFU and environmental protection groups including the Angling Trust and Rivers Trust. The group agreed actions to protect water resources and the environment in the UK in the weeks ahead.

Most of England has moved into ‘Prolonged Dry Weather’ status. This means that steps are being taken to manage existing water resources and to ensure that the environment is protected as far as possible from the lack of rain.  Nowhere in England is currently considered to be ‘in drought’ and most water companies are maintaining good reservoir storage for summer demand. If necessary the water companies will implement their drought plans.

Hosepipe bans

Hosepipe bans have been announced for the Isle of Man, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight,  Kent and Sussex. Many water companies are now asking customers to be careful with how they use water. This includes cutting back on using hosepipes in the garden and to wash cars.

Rescuing fish

The Environment Agency has been  re-oxygenating water and rescuing fish in distress where river flows are especially low. They rescued fish from the River Teme in Shropshire, the Tarrant in Dorset and Derbyshire Lathkill and relocated them down stream. Elsewhere, they deployed aeration equipment at a number of still water fisheries where dissolved oxygen levels have fallen to critically low levels.

River Brent

In Ealing we have the River Brent which is a tributary of the River Thames.  An urban river, it is under constraint threat from pollution, flooding, litter and low rainfall.  The river hasn’t dried up but is at a low level.

What can water users do to save water? 

In times of low rainfall, we can all do our bit to conserve water and not to waste it. Take shorter showers and use less water  to wash the dishes and water the garden less often.

What are you doing to save water?  What do  you think of hosepipe bans? Email me at liz@lizpaice.com.