Environment body Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has declared large parts of South West Wales are now in a drought area.
The announcement affects Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend as well as previously announced drought areas in Pembrokeshire.
A hosepipe ban comes into force today (19 August) in Pembrokeshire and parts of Carmarthenshire served by the Llys y Fran reservoir.
Welsh Water say there are no plans to extend the hosepipe ban to other areas yet.
NRW’s decision to move from prolonged dry weather status to drought for the area was agreed and shared with a meeting of the Welsh Government’s Drought Liaison Group.
The environment body said that the decision was made after consideration of the exacerbated pressures the high temperatures and lack of significant rainfall have had on the environment in this area.
It says the rest of Wales remains in prolonged dry weather status but concerns still remain. NRW adds that while essential supplies of water remain safe, the public and businesses in drought affected areas should be very mindful of the pressures on water resources and should use water wisely.
Natalie Hall, Sustainable Water Manager for NRW, said: “Prolonged dry weather can lead to drought when rainfall remains low. This can impact some of our most precious habitats and species as well as systems we often take for granted, such as our water supplies.
“We have decided to declare a state of drought in South West Wales after it was clear the lack of rain and recent heat have put a huge strain on our rivers, reservoirs and groundwater levels.“
The areas affected are:
- North Ceredigion (Rheidol, Aeron, Ystwyth)
- Pembrokeshire (Eastern and Western Cleddau)
- Carmarthen (Tywi and Taf)
- Swansea and Llanelli (Tawe and Loughor)
- Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend (Neath, Afan, Ogmore)
South West Wales received just 65.5% of its average rainfall in July and all river levels in the area are lower than expected for this time of the year, with the Ewenny, Teifi and Taf exceptionally low.
Low groundwater levels coupled with record high temperatures, have also put a strain on the region’s ecosystems as well as public water supplies in Pembrokeshire and parts of Carmarthenshire.
The rest of the country continues to experience a period of prolonged dry weather, despite there being some recent rainfall.
Across the rest of Wales, the majority of rivers across Wales are lower than expected for the time of year, with many exceptionally low including the Alyn, Conwy, Clwyd, Taf, Teifi, Ewenny, Wye, Usk and Ebbw.
Between March and July Wales received just 61% of its expected rainfall resulting in the driest five-month period in 40 years
NRW is advising the residents of Pembrokeshire to follow water conservation advice given by Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water, who have introduced a temporary use ban, more commonly known as a hosepipe ban, which will also come into effect today (Friday 19 August).
NRW and Welsh Government (WG) also attend the national drought group for England to address any cross-border concerns.
Natalie added: “While certain parts of Wales may be experiencing rain, it can still take a long time to recover from drought, making water a precious resource.
“We’re urging the public to save water where possible; you can find the latest ad advice on water by visiting your water company’s website or Waterwise (www.waterwise.org.uk).
“Please report any incidents on the current dry weather on our 24-hour hotline on 0300 065 3000.”
(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)
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