Drought reaches parts of Yorkshire
More areas of the country are now in drought following another dry month which has hit rivers and groundwater supplies, the Environment Agency has said.
Swathes around East and South Yorkshire from Chesterfield up to Scarborough are officially suffering from drought, with areas around Sheffield, Doncaster, Hull and Driffield affected.
The areas join the South East and eastern England in drought, most of which has been affected since earlier this year, although parts of East Anglia have been suffering drought conditions since last summer.
Earlier this month seven water companies across east and southern England announced hosepipe bans would come into force before Easter in a bid to conserve water supplies in the face of two unusually dry winters.
But while the rivers Don, Rother, Hull and Derwent are at low or very low levels for the time of year, the Environment Agency said public water supplies were unlikely to be affected in the region.
Yorkshire Water said it did not anticipate any restrictions such as hosepipe bans at the moment. The company said its reservoirs were at 94%, which was normal for the time of year, but groundwater levels in East Yorkshire were around a fifth below usual levels.
As a result the amount of water being taken from aquifers had been reduced and Hull's water supply was being supported by water drawn from the River Derwent. In a statement, the company said: "As the dry weather continues, we will be keeping the local water resource situation under constant review."
Some parts of Yorkshire have seen the driest 12 months since 1910 and river levels are continuing to fall, prompting the Environment Agency to urge farmers and businesses taking water from rivers to use supplies wisely.
The Environment Agency has had to take steps to protect wildlife in the face of drought, including staging a fish rescue from the River Welland in Lincolnshire this week, moving fish threatened by low water levels to another, deeper part of the river.
The news of the drought spreading comes as the Environment Department launched a campaign to raise public awareness of the connection between the health of England's rivers and people's water use.