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NRW confirms Wales remains in ‘prolonged dry weather status’ despite recent rain

22 Jul 2023 3 minute read
The River Clwyd at Rhuddlan. Photo by kitmasterbloke is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

National Resources Wales (NRW) has confirmed that Wales will remain at ‘prolonged dry weather’ status despite extended periods of rainfall in recent weeks.

The dry weather status was initially declared last month following the driest May and June since records began in 1975.

As of 17 July, Wales has received 85% of the long-term average rainfall for July. Rainfall has ranged from 58% in the Dwyfor catchment (NE Wales), to 109% in the Conwy catchment (N Wales) respectively.

Soil moisture levels have improved across Wales with the recent rain and most river flows have returned to normal or above normal, with the exception of Clwyd, Erch, Western Cleddau and parts of the Wye that are lower than expected.

Those rivers currently recording normal levels have only reached those levels over the past few days.

Given that groundwater is slower to respond to rainfall, NRW says it continues to have some concerns for levels in areas across Wales, especially within Lower Dee, Clwyd and Valleys/Vale of Glamorgan catchments.

Reduced concerns

In a statement, NRW noted: “The recent rainfall and cooler temperatures have improved the situation with reduced concerns for the environment and land, especially for fisheries and fire risk.

“However the prolonged dry and hot period experienced in May and June means we are still experiencing localised issues, including for protected sites/species such as at Anglesey Fens.

Groundwater levels are still low in many areas and could take some time to replenish if Wales does not receive enough rainfall over the coming months. Concerns also remain for agriculture

“Our drought teams across Wales continue to meet regularly, following the actions within NRW’s drought plan. We remain vigilant and continue to monitor the situation and any impacts or issues that may emerge should the dry and hot conditions return over the coming weeks”.

The hydrological outlook estimates that river flows are likely to be normal to below normal over the summer months and people and businesses are being urged to continue to use water wisely.

NRW warns: “We are seeing record-breaking land and sea water temperatures across Europe and other parts of the world. These global impacts are felt at a local level, contributing to the changes in our weather patterns and impacting the environment in Wales.

“We continue to urge colleagues and members of the public to take extra care whilst outdoors, use water wisely everyday and make changes to our daily lives that reduces our environmental impact”

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