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United Kingdom declares drought amid dry spell; imposes strict water usage rules

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The United Kingdom has officially declared a drought for some areas of England following a temperature forecast predicting 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or 35 degrees Celsius.

The UK’s National Drought Group met on Friday to discuss the country’s longest driest spell since 1976.

“All water companies have reassured us that essential supplies are still safe,” Water Minister Steve Double said in a statement. “We are better prepared than ever before for periods of dry weather, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation, including impacts on farmers and the environment, and take further action as needed.”

The announcement will allow water companies to impose strict conservation measures. Several water companies have already advised against the use of hoses to water yards and gardens and to wash vehicles.

“Water companies are already managing the unprecedented effects of the driest winter and spring since the 1970s, and with more hot, dry weather forecast, it’s crucial we be even more mindful of our water use to minimize spikes in demand and ensure there’s enough to go around,” Peter Jenkins, director of communications for the industry body Water UK, said in a statement.

On Thursday, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan urged the public to avoid grilling on balconies, at parks and in backyards over fears that fires might be sparked. The London Fire Brigade had already noted 340 grass, rubbish and open land fires in the capital in the first week of August. 

“London Fire Brigade’s Control Room has mobilised thousands of firefighters to 340 grass, rubbish and open land fires during the first week of August – an eightfold increase on the 42 during the same week last year,” the fire service said. 

The Drought Group already declared a drought in eight areas, spanning parts of the South-West, southern and central England, and the east of England.

Source: GazetteNGR

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