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Relief as region comes out of drought
8:00am Thursday 17th May 2012 in Farming
IT'S good news for farmers in Ludlow and Tenbury as the area is out of drought.
The Environment Agency (EA) has said the areas are no longer in drought due to the recent rainfall that shows that the wettest April on record.
This has significantly increased river and reservoir levels, reducing pressure on the environment and public water supplies.
But the EA has stressed that groundwater supplies remain low across the country.
The organisation said that South West England, the Midlands and parts of Yorkshire are no longer in drought and it is unlikely that water companies will now impose hosepipe bans in these areas over the summer.
Parts of East Anglia and South East England remain in drought with water company restrictions in place on public water use.
The Met Office announced that last month was the wettest April since records began and the news has been welcomed by farmers, gardeners and water companies.
Dr Paul Leinster, chief executive of the EA, said: “Water resources across England and Wales are kept constantly under review.
"The recent record rainfall has eased pressure on water resources in some parts of England, helping levels in rivers and reservoirs to recover and providing relief to farmers, gardeners and wildlife."
The EA will continue to keep drought status under continuous review. It stressed that low groundwater levels remain a concern across England, with many still around 1976 levels and unlikely to return to normal levels before winter.
In the areas of the country experiencing temporary restrictions, around 50 per cent of the public water supply is provided by groundwater sources.
Many rivers rely on groundwater (springs) to provide flow in dry periods.
A return to dry weather could lead to restrictions for farmers and problems for the environment later in the year.
Until the start of April England had 18 months of very low rainfall – the driest on record in some areas.
The EA has published regular drought updates since 2011, analysing the impacts of rainfall on key indicators such as soil moisture, reservoir stocks, river flows and groundwater levels.
In the week ending April 6 the EA’s weekly water situation report showed: • Rainfall at between 29 to 68 per cent of average for March.
• River flows below normal or lower at every indicator site in England.
• Reservoir stocks below normal or notably low at 65 per cent of indicator sites in England.
• Groundwater levels below normal or lower at all but four indicator sites (84 per cent), with 12 sites rated exceptionally lowin England.
After the persistent and heavy rain of recent weeks, the EA’s weekly water situation report for week ending May 11 showed: • The most rainfall in April in more than 100 years.
• River flows notably or exceptionally high at 48 per cent of indicator sites across England.
• Many reservoirs are recovering.
• Groundwater levels still exceptionally low in 42 per cent of indicator sites in England.