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Cracked ground due to drought on UK farm
Photograph: Shutterstock

An official drought is expected to be declared across England tomorrow

The announcement comes after the Met Office issued highest fire risk warning across the country

Written by
Ellie Muir

We’ve been harping on about a potential drought for some weeks now. We’ve talked about whether beavers could be the answer to all our problems, we’ve reported on some very wobbly cliffs and we’ve followed the hosepipe bans as they’ve been implemented. Now, the government is set to declare an official drought across the majority of England tomorrow, Friday (August 11)

The UK’s National Drought Group (which comprises civil servants, water companies, the environment agency and the National Farmers’ Union) is set to meet on Friday to discuss the country’s longest dry spell since 1976. They will make a decision on whether to declare a drought in England. This comes after July was the driest month since 1911, with temperatures reaching highs of 40C in a record-breaking heatwave. Yesterday the rising temperatures and humid conditions have prompted the Met Office to issue its highest fire warning for areas of the country.

It is expected that the group will declare an official drought for some parts of England including Kent and other southern and eastern areas hit particularly hard by the parched conditions. This announcement may prompt more emergency measures such as hosepipe bans and action from water companies to manage and conserve water supplies. This could include repairing leakages and encouraging households to reduce their personal water waste.

Already, Southern Water has banned hosepipe usage for residents in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Meanwhile, Thames Water, which supplies 15 million customers in London and the surrounding Thames Valley, has said it will bring in one in the coming weeks.

Stuart Colville, of Water UK, said that an official drought declaration was ‘increasingly inevitable’. He added that it will be the ‘right decision given some of the pressure on the environment that we’re seeing at the moment’.

So here we are, again, asking you: turn off the bloomin’ tap when you brush your teeth.

ICYMI: the ‘super heatwave’ could apparently cause huge landslides on the UK’s south coast.

Plus: here’s everything you need to know about the August rail strikes.

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