Water restrictions in place as drought status declared

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FARMERS are restricted from taking water from a brook as levels are running low.

The Environment Agency has declared drought status for parts of Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire today.

Some restrictions on taking water from rivers have already been put in place. The move to drought will not change this, but river and groundwater levels will be closely monitored by the agency.

Further restrictions on taking water from rivers or the ground could be put in place if they become necessary, which could happen if rainfall continues to be low and or temperatures increase.

Restrictions are currently in place preventing farmers from taking water from the Willow Brook, near Fotheringhay, and tributaries of River Witham downstream of Grantham,

Other rivers with restrictions in place are: River Bain near Horncastle, Barlings Eau east of Lincoln,

River Lymn north of Spilsby, Counter Drain between Manea and Welney and the Fens east of Peterborough.

The move is as a result of the driest spring since records began in 1910, leading to rivers with lower than normal water levels and very dry soil.

Water companies are not currently expecting to restrict domestic water supplies this summer, but are asking their customers to use water wisely. Severn Trent, which supplies Rutland, announced yesterday that it was considering imposing water restrictions but no decision has yet been made.

The agency’s planning manager Graham Wilson said: “What happens next is very dependent on the weather. Normal summer rain will reduce the rate at which rivers are falling and will help farmers and the environment especially, but if this is followed by a dry winter, there could be far more serious problems next year.

‘Our job is to balance the needs of people, the environment, agriculture and industry so that there is enough water to go round. ‘We all have a part to play in making the best efficient use of the water we have and even small changes can make a big difference to the overall picture.

‘What would really help are several weeks of steady rain, even though this is never popular in the summer.”