For those of us who don’t live there, it may seem strange to hear news that England is facing drought conditions throughout much of the south and east of the country. However, many areas of the country have been facing exceptionally dry winters over the last few years.
The Environment Agency of the United Kingdom announced that, “East Anglia, the south east of England and south and east Yorkshire are in drought,” in an official statement released this past Friday.
The Midlands and the south west regions of the country have experienced two dry winters in a row, which have produced dry river beds and low water flow. City councils in places such as Birmingham have advised residents to limit the watering of outdoor shrubs and to employ basic water-saving techniques.
The vast majority of England has been recently classified as experiencing official drought conditions, according to The Guardian. This means that water supply companies can choose to apply restrictions on residential and business water usage.
In the last month, a number of water supply companies have†banned the use of hosepipes, according to the BBC, which essentially limits the ability for households to water lawns or shrubs with a hose. The ban will most likely remain in place for the duration of the summer and could extend well into the fall if the summer produces the same dry conditions as the early spring.
About 20 million customers will be affected by the new policy, which includes fines of up to £1000 if the restriction is disobeyed.
The 2012 Summer Olympics will be held in London this summer, and grass and sport fields will not be affected by the water restrictions of the predicted summer drought. This has been one of the warmest and driest years on record for the central and southern regions of England.
Although there have been recent rains in many areas of England, this has not canceled out the severity of the drought conditions or encouraged the government or water suppliers to lift any of the restrictive policies geared towards water usage.
The Environment Agency has stated that the water usage policies and the drought condition classification could remain in place well into the new year. It remains to be seen if the classic rainy English summer will prevail in a few months.
Officials worry that a third dry winter could follow on the heels of an unusually warm summer and autumn months which could devastate farming in the region and the health of wildlife. Toads and frogs have been especially affected by the dry weather and the lack of moisture for their mating season.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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