Wales moved into ‘prolonged dry weather’ status due to lack of significant rainfall
People across Wales are being urged to use water wisely and help to protect water supplies and the environment following the recent extended period of warm and dry weather.
The advice follows Natural Resources Wales (NRW) confirming that the trigger thresholds have been met to move the whole of Wales from ‘normal’ into ‘prolonged dry weather’ status.
The decision is based on the pressure high temperatures and lack of significant rainfall has placed on rivers, groundwater levels, wildlife and the wider natural environment across Wales.
Prolonged dry weather status means rainfall is lower than expected for a sustained period of time resulting in low river, reservoir and groundwater levels as well as the drying up of land and soils and is characterised as the early stages of drought.
Despite recent rainfall triggered by summer thunderstorms, river flows across Wales are currently low for the time of year.
Groundwater levels have also been receding, with some sites exceptionally low and soils drier than expected.
In May, Wales received just 41% of its long term average rainfall (LTA), making it the second driest May in the last 25 years, with only 2020 drier.
As of 19 June 23, Wales has seen 32% of its LTA for June rainfall so far.
NRW has confirmed it is already dealing with the impacts of the prolonged dry weather which includes reports of fish in distress, with some becoming trapped in pools in lower reaches due to low flows and higher river temperatures.
There are also concerns for protected sites such as fens, peatlands, heath and grasslands which are home to many species.
Following a wet winter, water companies are reporting that their reservoir levels are good for the time of year.
Natalie Hall, Sustainable Water Manager at NRW said: “The prolonged hot and dry spell has led to concerns about the impacts low rainfall, river and groundwater levels, as well as drying up of soils, are having on our ecosystems and habitats, land management and agricultural sector. As such, we have taken the decision to move the whole of Wales into prolonged dry weather status.
“For us, this means stepping up our actions and monitoring across Wales to help mitigate the impacts on the environment, land, water users and people, and responding to environmental incidents.
“Our drought teams will continue to meet regularly to review the status, and will work closely with our partners to ensure we take appropriate action to reduce impacts on the environment and other water users across Wales.
“To ensure water can continue to be supplied without damaging the environment, the public and businesses across Wales are being urged to use water wisely and manage this precious resource.”
For more dry weather updates, please visit Natural Resources Wales / Dry weather updates
Waterwise’s website provides details on how to use water wisely. Wales’ water companies, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW) and Hafren Dyfrdwy (HD), also offer advice to customers on their websites on how to save water.
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