England announces state of drought for half of the country amid new heat wave

England announces state of drought for half of the country amid new heat wave

England officially declared on Friday morning (12) a state of drought in 8 of its 14 regions. Two new areas are expected to enter this state as early as next week.

The announcement comes on the heels of the driest summer in 50 years and the driest July since 1935. Temperatures have also been punishing the British, causing the thermometer to rise to 35°C – a few weeks ago the country surpassed 40°C. for the first time since measurements began.

The entire region covering the centre, south and east of the country is being affected, in addition to the extreme west, where Cornwall is located. For now, the British government says essential water supplies are safe, but the announcement of the state of drought means that water companies in affected regions can now introduce restrictions for residents.

The use of hoses in the gardens is being banned in several parts, as well as washing the car. Window washing should be the next constraint on the list.

The government has instructed the British to use water “wisely”, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan has again asked the population not to barbecue in backyards, balconies and parks, fearing possible fires – he had given this orientation at the time of record temperatures, when forest fires reached areas close to the capital.

The Fire Department said it recorded hundreds of fires in the capital last week, against 42 seen in the same period in 2021. At least five large chain stores have stopped selling barbecues in recent days.

The government team that decided on the state of drought also considered the country’s food security. Half of England’s potato crops must be lost if they cannot be irrigated. With reservoirs and rivers far below average, even crops that are usually drought tolerant are at risk of dying.

The loss of 10% to 50% of carrot, onion, beet and apple crops is expected. Milk production is also facing decline due to lack of food to feed the cows. The picture adds layers of concern amid the instability of prices and supply of many items, with the difficulties imposed by the Ukrainian War – which also impact energy in Europe.

If conditions worsen, concessionaires may also ration water for residential properties, at specific times.

It is believed that the problems of lack of rain, directly linked to the climate crisis, will not be resolved in the UK before October. In July, Penny Endersby, director of the British meteorological service, quoted to the BBC studies according to which, without the climate crisis, there would be no chance of the temperature in the UK reaching 40°C.

Amid successive heat waves, drought has hit other parts of Europe this summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This week, France again faced an increased risk of forest fires, with temperatures of around 40°C, and Italy saw a worsening drought on the Po River, the worst in seven decades.

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