Baking

Drought threatens UK amid heatwave and baking temperatures with orange weather warning over Portsmouth and Hampshire

The National Drought Group – made up of government and agency officials, water companies and other groups such as the National Farmers Union (NFU) – is due to meet on Friday to discuss the prolonged dry weather.

Drought is expected to be declared in southern and eastern parts of England, prompting action by water agencies and companies to manage water resources to ensure supplies and to protect the environment.

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Portsmouth Water says it ‘will not enforce’ garden hose ban following…

Marcin Jedrysiak captured footage of the dry grass spread across Southsea Common. Photo: Marcin Jedrysiak.

Temperatures in Portsmouth are expected to peak at 28C tomorrow, with warm weather forecast peaking at 36C over the weekend in areas covered by the orange weather warning for extreme heat.

Vulnerable people are likely to suffer adverse health effects and the general population could also be affected.

Travel delays are possible and there is an increased risk of water accidents and fires as more and more people head to tourist sites.

There is also a heat health alert from the UK Health Security Agency, with experts advising people to be careful of those who are older or have existing health conditions, as well as young children.

The Met Office said there could be a warm weather ‘thunderstorm outage’ on Monday, although it is so far uncertain which areas could see rain.

The latest heat wave adds to months of low rainfall, leaving the countryside, parks and gardens parched and at risk of wildfires breaking out.

A Fire Severity Index (FSI) published by the Met Office, an assessment of how serious a fire would be if one were to start, is very high for most of England and Wales, and will reach ‘outstanding’ – the highest tier – for a swathe of England stretching to the border with Wales by the weekend.

Southern Water has implemented a garden hose ban for customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and Thames Water, which supplies 15 million customers in London and the Thames Valley, has announced that it would introduce one in the coming weeks.

Conservationists are calling for an England-wide ban on the use of garden hoses to protect wildlife and struggling rivers which are at exceptionally low levels in parts of the country.

Climate change is making heat waves more intense, frequent and likely, with record high temperatures last month being at least 10 times more likely due to global warming and “virtually impossible” without it, research has found.

Scientists also warn that the likelihood of droughts occurring is increasing due to climate change, which is driven by greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.

Experts from the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), the professional body for those working in the environmental sector, warn that the UK must become more resilient to climate change.

IEMA Deputy Director General Martin Baxter said: “We need to become more resilient to the hotter and drier summers, which we are currently experiencing due to climate change and which will become more frequent over time. “

“We need to double down and reduce leaks in our water systems, wasting three billion liters a day is unacceptable when an average household uses only 142 liters a day.

“We need to help people use less water, for example by having showers instead of baths, not using a garden hose, planting drought-tolerant plants and installing water meters. water in houses.