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England declares a state of drought over a large part of its territory


While the entire French territory is affected by the drought, the situation is also worsening across the Channel. A state of drought was declared Friday, August 12, in a large part of England, announced the British government, after an emergency meeting convened by the agency for the environment.

The alert, which had not been declared since 2018, concerns fourteen areas including London, the Thames Valley and much of southern, central and eastern England. If, as in France, it can lead to measures going as far as restrictions on the use of water, it comes as the United Kingdom is experiencing its second heat wave of the summer, in a country unaccustomed to at high temperatures.

Read also: Drought in France: what water restrictions apply in your department?

Driest July since 1976

The UK, however, had the driest July on record in some parts and its driest first half since 1976. The situation is such that the source of the Thames has dried up and the river that flows through London cannot begins to flow about 8 kilometers further downstream.

Vegetation fires are increasing; in London parks and much of the country, the usual green of the lawns has given way to straw yellow and dusty ground, due to the state of drought.

Hikers observe the dry, sun-scorched grass of Greenwich Park, with the Queens House and the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf as a backdrop, in London on August 9, 2022.

An orange “extreme heat” alert has been in effect since Thursday and runs through Friday across most of southern England and part of Wales, according to Britain’s national meteorological service, the Met Office. While the all-time high of 40.3 degrees reached on July 20 should not be exceeded, temperatures of up to 36 degrees are expected until the end of the weekend.

Water supplies assured for the moment

“Water supplies are safe”however, said the ministry and the environment agency in a press release, while asking companies in the sector to “continue their preventive planning in order to protect essential supplies in the event of a dry autumn”.

“We call on everyone to manage the amount of water they use in this exceptionally dry period”said the executive director of the environment agency, Harvey Bradshaw. “We are better prepared than ever for periods of warm weather, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation, including the impact on farmers and the environment, and will take additional action if necessary.”added the Secretary of State for Water, Steve Double.

The drought declared on Friday is therefore aimed at ensuring that water companies deploy their emergency plans to deal with the lack of water, including bans on watering, car washing and filling swimming pools. for individuals.

One of the water distribution network operators, Yorkshire Water, has announced the entry into force of these measures from August 26, as have several other companies. In Kent, on the southeast coast of the English Channel, such restrictions came into force on Friday. In London, they should apply in the coming weeks.

Low water at Baitings Reservoir, Ripponde, West Yorkshire, on August 12, 2022, as record high temperatures are seen in the UK.

The World with AFP