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Climate change and drought in the South West

  • by JW

“Future summers could last longer with an increased risk of drought.”

This will affect food supplies and the tourist industry.


The government has issued a press release declaring the whole of the West Country as under drought conditions:

The Environment Agency has today agreed that all of the South West of England is now in drought following some of the driest conditions in nearly 90 years.

All of England’s South West region now in drought – GOV.UK

As reported across the media today:

Drought declared for all of South West England | Weather | News |

UK drought MAPPED: ANOTHER region now under emergency measures DESPITE ‘heavy rain’ | Weather | News |

This follows on from Devon being declared as such earlier in the month:

Devon officially a drought area – Radio Exe

Here’s a little more analysis from the BBC on today’s announcement:

Future summers could last longer with an increased risk of drought, according to the Met Office. Research found that summer-like weather patterns will also lead to warmer and drier autumns from the mid-2020s. The Environment Agency said it follows some of the driest conditions in nearly 90 years.

Chris Paul, the Environment Agency’s area drought lead, said: “Despite some heavy rain over the past two weeks, it has not been enough to refill our rivers and aquifers. River levels across our Wessex area are exceptionally low – many showing the lowest flows on record. This places incredible strain on local wildlife and this is why we are moving to drought status.”

Experts have said sufficient rainfall over the autumn and winter would replenish rivers, lakes, groundwater and reservoirs to normal levels by spring, but planning should begin now on how to manage shortfalls next year if the coming months are dry.

Longer summers could mean increased drought risk, says Met Office – BBC News

This will affect food supplies:

Drought: what food items might be affected in England? | Evening Standard

UK faces pumpkin shortage at Halloween after summer of heatwaves | The Independent

Rugby farmer: ‘Drought means potatoes half the size of usual’ – BBC News

Europe’s extreme weather risks smaller harvests and higher food prices

And it will affect the tourist industry:

Centuries-old ‘ghost gardens’ emerge in UK drought, heatwave | Miami Herald