Concerns are raised as reservoir water levels fall

UK - Irrigation restrictions could be imposed on farms across south-east England as the region grapples with its worst water shortage since the drought of 1976.

Kent and Sussex are among the counties worst-hit in the region which has had only 74% of average rainfall since November 2004.

Groundwater levels and river flows are low, and in some places are the lowest on record.

The Environment Agency has warned that farmers across a swathe of land stretching from Hants to Essex and south Cambs are likely to suffer from unreliable groundwater and surface water supplies this summer.

Farmers faced irrigation restrictions unless the region received at least 80% of its average rainfall in the run-up to April, said an agency spokesman.

"We are talking to farmers and discussing ways they can phase out their water use."

Maintaining water supplies to livestock farmers is being seen as a priority if animal welfare problems are to be averted.

But it will be more difficult to argue the case for allowing irrigation if households are deprived of running water.

Source: FWi
calendar icon 28 March 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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