Comment on potential drought conditions in UK

ECIU's Matt Williams on increasingly dry conditions in the UK.

By Tricia Curmi

info@eciu.net

Information on this page correct as of:

The UK is increasingly experiencing extremely dry conditions. The Met Office has said that, according to provisional statistics, July 2022 was the driest July for England since 1935, and the driest July on record for East Anglia, southeast and southern England [1]. South East Water has become the latest water supplier to announce a hosepipe ban, citing extreme dry conditions and record demand [2].

Commenting Matt Williams, Climate and Land Programme Lead at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: "The heatwave and dry weather is quickly turning into the risk of a UK drought. Measures like hosepipe bans might provide temporary relief, but the Climate Change Committee has clearly said the UK is not well-prepared for future droughts, especially in the farming sector. [3]

“Some are saying this could be as bad as 1976, when failed crops sent food prices up 12%. This would come on top of food prices that are already sky-high due to the costs of inputs like fertiliser and energy from gas.

“A drought this summer would add more pressure to a global food system already creaking under the weight of extreme weather in other countries so far this year, like flooding in South Africa and a heatwave in India.

“The benefits of supporting farmers to reduce dependence on energy and chemicals made from fossil fuels, to achieve net zero, and to adapt to climate change, have never been clearer."

Groups including the National Farmers Union (NFU) have called for an Irrigation Water Strategy to address water allocations, increasing demands and competition among water dependent sectors. [4]


Notes to editors:

1. Met Office: Driest July in England since 1935: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2022/driest-july-in-england-since-1935

2. PA: South East Water announces hosepipe ban for Kent and Sussex: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/03/south-east-water-announces-hosepipe-ban-kent-and-sussex

3. CCC 2021 Progress Report to Parliament: https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Progress-in-adapting-to-climate-change-2021-Report-to-Parliament.pdf

4. Groups including the National Farmers Union (NFU) have called for an Irrigation Water Strategy: https://www.nfuonline.com/archive?treeid=141830

For more information:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: george.smeeton@eciu.net