Drought status lifted after weeks of heavy rain top reservoirs up to 97%
BRISTOL is no longer in drought after having six months of rain in just six weeks.
After 26 days of drought the Environment Agency yesterday lifted the weather status for the city and surrounding area, meaning we are highly unlikely to have a hosepipe ban this summer.
The move comes after England saw the wettest April in 100 years – since records began. In the Bristol area there was three times more rain than normal for last month, and this month has had 90 per cent of its rainfall by May 9.
The torrential downpours of the last few weeks have drastically replenished the supplies in the lakes and reservoirs that supply Bristol’s water.
This week's delicious £5 5 O'CLOCKTAIL is a refreshing Tequila Sunrise. Available everyday from our Bar for only £5 between 5pm & 7pm.
Terms: £5 cocktail applies to the cocktail of the week.
Contact: 0117 2448281
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
At the start of April they were 80 per cent full but now stand at 97 per cent.
Until the start of April, England had 18 months of very low rainfall, the driest on record in some areas. Bristol officially went into drought conditions on April 16.
Now the exceptional rainfall has restored many rivers, reducing pressure on the environment.
Paul Gainey, from the Environment Agency, said the levels of recent rainfall had been “unprecedented”, and that six months rain had fallen in just six weeks.
Mr Gainey said: “In the South West we have had about three times more rain in April that we would normally expect, and it will continue to be very wet in May.
“The exceptionally heavy rain has taken pressure off the environment, and for that reason we decided to remove the drought status for the whole of the South West, including Bristol.
“We will still be monitoring groundwater supplies, the water under the ground, which is the most difficult to replenish.
“Because of the exceptionally heavy rainfall, it looks like we will have a bit of a respite.”
Paul Kelson, from Bristol Water, said the heavy rainfall over the last six weeks made up for the dry winter. He said: “We have had so much rain, three times the average, and for us that is very, very wet.
“The lakes have gone up dramatically. They are essentially big bowls, and if it gets wet enough and we get enough rain they will collect. We wouldn’t normally expect the lake levels to rise significantly when we get into April and May, especially as it is getting warmer.
“When we went into April the lake levels were at what we would expect for July.
“We were about 80 per cent full at the beginning of last month in all of our lake reservoirs, but now they have gone up to 97 per cent, which is pretty close to full. Blagdon Lake is actually full.
“Now we are in the situation that we would be in for an average year.
“We don’t expect to have any water restrictions this year now, though we will still have to be careful and manage our resources ahead of the winter.”
The Environment Agency has also warned that a return to dry weather could still lead to restrictions for farmers and problems for later in the year.
The rain has been excellent news for gardeners across Bristol, and the lifting of the drought status has been welcomed by the Royal Horticultural Society.
RHS chief advisor Guy Barter said: “This is a great relief to gardeners. Even gardeners in areas that still are under drought restrictions have some good news.
“The soil is now recharged and water butts should be full. But on the other hand the rains and heavy clouds have meant that it was difficult to plant things and growth has been held back.
“But if we get a normal summer we would hope that plants will catch up on this delayed growth and produce healthy crops or flowers.”