Spring 2020 was one of the driest on record with May 2020 being the driest of all time in some parts of England. This was a remarkable transformation after one of the wettest winters on record but preceded by periods of exceptionally dry weather and drought over the last three years.
It is clear that periods of extended high rainfall and extended low rainfall are becoming more common. We need to work together to reduce and mitigate the impacts of drought, some partnerships have already been sharing citizen science data and other forms of evidence with the Environment Agency, they are encouraging other partnerships to get in touch to look at what could be helpful.
We know that you have valuable knowledge and experience of what is happening in your local areas and we are asking whether you can help enhance understanding of drought impacts and recovery. This could be as simple as a weekly photo of a hotspot site taken while out on a daily walk. The Environment Agency would use this information to complement existing monitoring.
Environment Agency Catchment Co-ordinators would like to work with you to identify where there are ways we can better work together to reduce the impacts of drought in the local environment by targeting future environmental resilience actions to the places that could have the most benefits. Please contact your Environment Agency Catchment Co-ordinator if you would like to know more.
We also face a situation where there is a long term risk that demand for water will outstrip supply in some parts of England. We can all do our part to use water wisely but we know there is more to be done in telling the story effectively, especially during dry periods. The Environment Agency would like your help in sharing messages with your local communities and partners and sharing any positive news stories on action being taken in your communities to mitigate the impacts of dry weather.
• It is vital that people stick to government coronavirus guidelines, in particular on the importance of regular hand washing.
• We all need to use water wisely. Every drop that is wasted is water that could be sustaining our rivers, streams and lakes.
• Consider how you can use less water outdoors – for example if you’re using water in the garden, take some simple steps such as fitting a trigger to your hose, or using a bucket to wash the car or watering can to water plants. For more tips on water efficiency visit the Waterwise web page.
• Be the Environment Agency’s eyes on the ground – if you see any environmental incidents in your local area please call their incident hotline on 0800 807060.
• For more information and advice see “Water’s Worth Saving”