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Drought summit to discuss preventative measures

A drought summit is being held today, as parts of England suffer with groundwater levels lower than in 1976. Environment secretary Caroline Spelman is meeting with water companies, farmers and wildlife groups to discuss the situation in south east England, East Anglia and the East Midlands.

Many rivers are already drying up and while water companies have managed to reduce leakage by 36% since the 1990s there is still a danger of water shortages. Unless heavy and prolonged rain falls before April, water restrictions could be introduced in some areas of the country.

The summit will discuss the measures being implemented as well as actions that could mitigate against the impact of drought in the future.

Spelman said: “We’re bringing everybody together today – the water industry, all the water users, the agriculture industry, the horticulturists, and also the green groups who are obviously concerned that we protect nature – because it’s important actually we think about what preventative measures we can take now.

“People often say ‘well why don’t you just build a pipeline from theNorth Westto the South East?’ but it isn’t that simple because water is heavy and costly to transport.

“But one of the things we will talk about at the summit today is talk about improved connectivity between water companies as part of improving our resilience in the face of these conditions.”

Climate change projections suggest that the south-east will see drier summers and wetter winters. However, the extra winter water will not all be captured without new infrastructure, meaning droughts are likely to become more frequent.

Image c. the Italian voice

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