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Drought prospects for winter and spring 2011/12

21 December 2011

The Environment Agency (EA) have published as substantive report outlining the current drought prospects for winter and spring 2011/12. If you have concerns about your water supply or abstraction licences you should contact your local EA officer and also consider any wider business impacts. You can learn more about Water Abstraction Groups (WAGS) by contacting the UK Irrigation Association (UKIA).

The report describes potential rainfall scenarios and recommends actions for the Environment Agency, farmers, water companies and other abstractors. The EA will continue to work with partners to minimise the impact of drought on people, farming, businesses and the environment. 

Key findings

  • Dry weather and drought continue to affect central, eastern and southern England.
  • The main impact of drought so far has been on farming and the environment.
  • Some water companies in affected areas may apply for further drought permits to help secure supplies. They may need to impose restrictions on their customers next spring and summer.
  • It is too early to fully assess the risks for next summer, but the drought risks for 2012 are rising with every week of dry weather.

Key actions

In the short term the Environment Agency will:

  • Continue to write to farmers about the risk of drought restrictions affecting spray irrigation next spring and summer.
  • Respond more quickly to requests for licence variations.
  • Determine water company drought permits (and support government on drought orders) where required.  
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