For more than a month the public have been left baffled after being told that swathes of Britain are in drought despite record levels of rain and flash floods.
But on Monday the Environment Agency disclosed that it has come up with an unusual solution – replacing drought declarations with different types of water shortage.
The agency is now considering using terminology more meaningful for people who can’t understand why droughts are not always a case of baking heat, cracked soil and dry river beds.
Officials are planning to inform the public whether the country faces insufficient rainfall to grow crops, a prolonged dry spell, low levels of groundwater, or a general public water shortage, for example.
Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Environment Agency, said: “Drought is a really blunt word, and they have had exactly the same problem in the US and in Australia where they have used that single term to represent a real plethora of situations.