UK facing drought in August following extreme heat

By Helena Horton for The Guardian

The UK is facing the prospect of a drought being declared in August, experts have said, warning of potential crop failures after a period of remarkably dry weather and extreme heat.

Hosepipe bans for households could be brought in across the UK and farmers could be restricted from irrigating their crops if the government implements a drought plan.

On Tuesday, the National Drought Group, made up of government departments and affected groups, will meet to discuss a strategy to deal with the very dry conditions faced by England. Other countries in the UK are also discussing responses to the potential drought.

The meeting had been supposed to take place in October to plan for 2023, but conditions have become so dry that it has been brought forward.

Last week’s record-breaking heatwave baked the soil, leading farmers to increase irrigation for crops and increasing the rate of evaporation from waterways.

Farmers could be banned from watering their crops in the crucial period of August and September, with root vegetables such as potatoes under particular threat. Crops could fail through lack of water, and dry soil can make harvesting difficult.

Minette Batters, the president of the National Farmers’ Union, said: “We don’t have time to waste. The situation with water is very, very serious for growers – there are implications for costs and crop viability.”

Read the full story from the Guardian here.