The Environment Agency are warning that the drought in the UK, which is now in effect in 17 more counties in the South West and the Midlands, could continue long term putting wildlife and the environment at risk.
A team from the Environment Agency has already had to rescue fish from the River Lathkill in Derbyshire and four more rivers, the Tern, Sow, Soar and Leadon had the lowest levels of water ever recorded last month putting them at risk of drying out.
In a news update, the agency says that the drought could continue until after Christmas and are urging people to conserve water where they can, and to use it wisely. It is hoped that there will be a rainy winter in 2012/2013 which would help to restore the depleted rivers and ground waters; the Environment Agency are working with water companies to implement a plan should there be a third dry winter.
Trevor Bishop, Head of Water Resources at the Environment Agency, said:
“A longer term drought, lasting until Christmas and perhaps beyond, now looks more likely – and we are working with businesses, farmers and water companies to plan ahead to meet the challenges of a continued drought.”
“While we’ve had some welcome rain recently, the problem has not gone away, and we would urge everyone – right across the country – to use water wisely now, which will help to prevent more serious impacts next year.”
Measures are being taken to protect important wildlife sites in the country and the Agency are working with farmers to help top up storage reservoirs.
The drought has been declared in many areas of the UK including Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, West Midlands and Warwickshire.