Wet weather averts drought risk in England – Rains recharge ground water levels, but engineers say compulsory meters with differential pricing is a must for water conservation
The risk of a serious drought in England continuing this summer has abated significantly thanks to the wet weather in April and May, according to the Environment Agency. Hosepipe bans may be lifted if the skies stay grey.
The news comes as the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) warned that the government needed to put in place a system of compulsory water metering accompanied by differential pricing to preserve supplies and prevent droughts in future.
The torrential jubilee weekend rain was the culmination of a spring washout – including the wettest April on record – following an unusually hot and dry March.
Almost all reservoirs are now at least 75% full and river flows have returned to normal for the time of year, the agency said, but groundwater levels are still below normal, with some areas needing 140% of long-term rainfall this winter to recover fully.
“We have seen a huge improvement in water resources in just a few short months, putting us in a much more positive position for the summer. While the downpours in April were pretty miserable, they were really welcome as water companies were able to refill their reservoirs, river levels are mostly back to normal and many wildlife habitats that were suffering have recovered,” said Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Environment Agency.