England declares a state of drought

In London, where the green of the lawns has given way to a straw yellow, a state of drought has been declared. The situation is such that the source of the Thames is dry and the river does not begin to flow until about eight kilometers further downstream, an unprecedented situation. But the English capital is not the only one concerned. Much of the country is affected by the state of drought on Friday: the Thames Valley and much of southern, central and eastern England. This measure had not been taken since 2018.

Announced after an emergency meeting convened by the environmental agency, it comes in the middle of a heat wave in the United Kingdom, the second of the summer, in a country unaccustomed to high temperatures. An orange “extreme heat” alert has been in effect since Thursday over most of southern England and part of Wales.

Water companies called upon to fix leak problems

If the absolute record of 40.3°C reached on July 20 will not be equaled, temperatures of up to 35°C are expected on Friday, and even 36°C during the weekend. These temperatures come after the driest July on record in some areas. England suffered its driest first half since 1976, with winter and spring failing to bring the usual rainfall.

Vegetation fires are on the riseto the point that some supermarket chains have stopped selling disposable barbecues, and authorities have urged caution near cliffs, which are more at risk of cracking in hot weather.

“Water supplies are secure,” the environment ministry and agency said, but the state of drought is aimed at ensuring water companies roll out their contingency plans to deal with the lack of water. water, with in particular bans on watering, washing cars and filling swimming pools for individuals. Water reservoirs, at 65% capacity, are at their lowest level since 1995 and some distribution companies are being criticized for failing to meet leak-stop targets.

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