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expert reaction to anticipated drought this summer

Several journalists have asked us about the anticipated drought this summer, so here’s a quote from Professor Wouter Buytaert in case useful.


Professor Wouter Buytaert, Professor in Hydrology and Water Resources, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London, said:

“We experience drought in the UK when the water stored in our rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater runs exceptionally low. The southeast of the UK is particularly vulnerable, not only because it receives the least rainfall, but it also has the highest demand. 

“Scientists forecast droughts by building computer simulations of the water cycle and feeding them with data on rainfall, river flow, and groundwater levels, like weather forecasts. 

“Climate change will make droughts worse. Periods of low rainfall will become longer and more intense. Warmer temperatures also mean more evaporation, which leaves less rain to replenish rivers and groundwater. 

“Droughts have a big impact on society. Lost crops hurt farmers but may also push up food prices. Building new storage and treatment infrastructure is very costly. But droughts also damage fragile river ecosystems, which are already under very heavy pressure from pollution in the UK. 

“Much can be done do reduce water use. Small things like using eco shower heads and building drought-resistant gardens make a big difference. On the longer term, we should focus on the reduction of leakage, better use of rainwater in buildings, and water reuse in industrial processes.”



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