There have been some reports in the press that dry weather in May will bring a return of drought conditions.
Here Victoria Williams, Drought Advisor at the Environment Agency, explains what the risks currently are.
Every week we measure water resources in England to assess how dry the soils are and how much rain they can soak up, the amount of water flowing in rivers, stored below ground in aquifers and above ground in reservoirs, and the outlook for the coming months.
Our latest water situation report details a positive outlook for water resources in the coming months. 2012 was the second wettest year on record, and despite a relatively dry start to 2013, river levels are normal or above normal at the majority of our monitoring sites. We also look ahead by modelling how rivers and groundwaters may respond to different future rainfall patterns over the summer. The results shows a positive picture even if rainfall is below average and point to the risk of drought this summer being no greater than average.
However it is still as important as ever to use water wisely. If the weather does turn hot and dry there could be localised impacts on rivers and the environment. Modelling suggests that a changing climate could reduce some river flows by up to 80 per cent during the summer in the next 40 years – increasing the challenge of ensuring there is enough water for people, business, farmers and the environment.