People are being urged to use water wisely as England faces drought in August if the hot and dry weather continues.
The Environment Agency (EA) convened the National Drought Group (NDG) on Tuesday, bringing together officials from the Environment Department (Defra), water companies, the Met Office, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and others.
Most of England has moved into “prolonged dry weather” status – meaning the EA is now taking precautionary actions to mitigate impacts.
Nowhere in England is currently considered to be in a drought and most water companies are maintaining good reservoir storage for summer demand, with Welsh Water now saying supplies for Herefordshire are OK, but customers need to be sensible.
The EA said that if further measures are required, temporary use bans – more commonly known as hosepipe bans – will be determined by individual water companies.
Officials said recently abnormally high temperatures have exacerbated conditions resulting from lower than normal rainfall so far this year in many parts of England.
With much of Herefordshire’s water supply coming from the Wye, Welsh Water says customers should use water wisely, but supplies are OK at present despite the record-high temperatures in July.
In Hereford at the Old Bridge, the river Wye level fell to just 10cm in July, but was then bolstered temporarily by a release of water by Natural Resources Wales from the Elan Valley.
It then fell back to 20cm by August 1 and as of 11.45am on Thursday (August 4) stood at 29cm. The top of its normal range is 3.3 meters.
A spokesperson for the not-for-profit firm said: “Water resources across the majority of our area are in a reasonably good position despite the exceptionally dry period we are experiencing and the recent record high temperatures.
“However, we do have a concern about the situation in Pembrokeshire where average rainfall has been a lot lower.
“We are monitoring the situation very closely and communicating with customers there to urge them to use less water. The message is simple, use what you need but please don’t waste it.”