Drought in Britain After Record March Temperatures

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Over the last week, Britain has been enjoying some unseasonably warm and dry weather. Whilst this may be perfect for sitting out in the sun and enjoying the lighter evenings, there is also a downside. After the driest 18 months since records began, most of the east and south-east of England is now officially in drought.

For several days now, record temperatures have been hitting Britain. Up and down the UK people have been basking in temperatures over 20oC (68F), with the Scottish record for a March temperature being broken on Sunday and then again yesterday. Whilst we are already enjoying hotter weather than Barcelona and Nice, forecasters are now saying that the best of the weather is yet to come.

All this has led to what is shaping up to be the worst drought to hit the UK for 30 years. With the south and east of England already suffering, it is expected to spread throughout the country, to as far north as Yorkshire and as far west as Wiltshire.

Combatting the Drought

With the dry weather expected to continue, the country is starting to prepare for the worst and try and save water sooner rather than later. Last week, it was announced that seven different water companies are introducing hosepipe bans across the worst hit areas from 5th April. People will not be allowed to water their gardens or fill paddling pools with a hosepipe, with fines of up to £1,000 being threatened. Dedicated call centres are being set up and people are being encouraged to report their neighbours if they see them breaking the ban (though you'd really have to hate your neighbour to do that).

Equally, farmers have begun sharing supplies and planning for on-farm water storage tanks. The water companies are also trying to reduce leaks as much as possible and are looking at plans to share water.

Who Will be Affected?

You may be thinking that you haven't noticed anything change since the drought, and indeed, you may not be directly affected at all, even as it gets worse. As a student living in London (or any other city) the chances are you won't be needing to use a hosepipe. However, for others the drought could have devastating consequences on their livelihood.

Farmers are the ones who will be most badly hit by the droughts, with their dependency on water for their crops and produce. Fruit and vegetable growers are facing a particularly tough time, as it is over the coming months that they need the water most. They are already warning that this may have a knock-on effect on the price of fruit and vegetables in the UK.

Wildlife is also starting to suffer from the unusually warm and dry weather. Fish are already having to be moved from rivers and ponds that are drying up, and the Environment Agency has said that pollution is having a far greater impact on rivers because of the reduced water flow.

Ultimately, no one really knows how much rain we will have over the coming months and therefore quite how bad the drought will get. Just think, whilst you are enjoying the hot weather, others are praying for rain.

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