The water shortages affecting the South East and East of England are now warned to the South West and Midlands, extending to over half of the country, and could stretch into 2013 according to the Environment Agency. Dry weather has left some rivers exceptionally low and the drought map has been extended.
The new official drought zones are Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, parts of Hampshire and most of Wiltshire.
Whilst public water supplies are unlikely to be affected by the drought, consumers are urged to help by reducing their usage and evaluate alternative means like preserving rainwater.
“A longer-term drought, lasting until Christmas and perhaps beyond, now looks more likely” said Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Agency.
Whilst recent heavy rainfall makes little difference to reservoirs and groundwater sources, meaning hosepipe bans are going to remain in effect for some time to come, households with rain saving devices at least can benefit and have water available in their garden and for other uses.