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A drought update from the Environment Agency - 25th July 2012

Being drought aware - use water wisely every day

Since writing to you at the beginning of the year, we have had the wettest April and June since records began in 1910. In June alone we received 221% of long term average (LTA) monthly rainfall.

This has helped restore river, groundwater and reservoir levels, easing the pressure on the environment and water supplies. As a result, the South East is officially out of drought.

While we may not see the severe impacts of drought this summer, the situation could deteriorate next year if we do not get enough rain this winter. We are continuing to work with Thames Water and Veolia Water Central to plan for the impacts that another dry winter could have on the environment. We are constantly monitoring water levels in the environment and use key indicators such as river, groundwater and reservoir levels and soil moisture to assess the situation.

Thank you for all you have done this year to conserve water. We want everyone to use water wisely every day, not just during a drought. Information on ways to save water can be found on our website: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/drought.

We also need communities, local environmental groups and organisations to be our eyes and ears on their local rivers. If you see fish in distress or pollution incidents, please call our Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60. Our officers can then investigate the cause and take action where necessary. We also want to know about any opportunities where our wetland habitats and rivers could be enhanced. Tell us by phoning our customer services line on 03708 506 506.

For further information on drought and the impacts of drought, please contact Miles Morgan. You can phone Miles on 01707 632731, email him at miles.morgan@environment-agency.gov.uk or write to him at Apollo Court, 2 Bishops Square Business Park, St Albans Road West, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9EX.

May I also take this opportunity to let you know about a consultation we have launched to find out how people want to be involved in improving their local water environment. The consultation is called 'Working Together' and forms the first of three consultations we will be running over the next three years under the European Water Framework Directive. Its purpose is to find out how people want us to involve them in planning for, and improving their local water environment.

You can view and respond to the consultation online at https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/ho/wfd/working/together2012. For a printed version of the consultation, please contact myles..thomas@environment-agency.gov.uk or call 01707 632315.

You should return all written responses by 22 December 2012 to Myles Thomas, River Basin Programme Manager, Environment Agency South East, Kings Meadow House, Kings Meadow Road, Reading, RG1 8DQ, and all email responses to thamesRBD@environment-agency.gov.uk.