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Cornwall in Drought

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6:01am 16th April 2012

Cornwall is officially in a drought.

As Pirate FM predicted last week officials are making the announcement, warning it would have to rain almost non-stop through the summer to get us back on track. The drought could last till Christmas.

There have been two successive dry winters in the South West and 16 of the last 25 months have had below average rainfall. The cumulative rainfall total since October 2010 is the lowest for the same period since 1921/22 and is the second driest on record.

Since October 2011 there has been only 71 per cent of the rainfall normally expected. In February, it was less than 40 per cent and in March just 35 per cent.

"The whole of the South West has moved into environmental drought status, reflecting the impact that this extended dry period is having on the environment and we are asking everyone to use water wisely," said Ben Johnstone, Strategic Drought Manager for the Environment Agency in the South West.

"The amount of water we all use has a direct effect on the amount of water available in rivers and for wildlife.

"The Environment Agency work to balance the water needs of people, farmers, businesses and the environment and we are working with all sectors to plan ahead to meet the challenges of a continued environmental drought."

But South West Water confirmed that there was little chance of a hosepipe ban, like those seen elsewhere in the country.

Neil Whiter, South West Water’s Head of Supply Demand Strategy said: “The region is in a state of environmental drought but we would like to stress to all our customers that public water supplies remain unaffected.

“Since 1976, overall capacity has quadrupled and recently we have developed two new Cornish reservoirs – Park and Stannon – as well as continuing to improve our distribution network so we can move water to areas which need

“With the help of customers continuing to use less water, we forecast this will be our 16th successive summer without any form of restrictions.”

But customers are still being asked to help save water. Experts say for those on a water meter it could help cut their bills too.

Tips for Saving Water

  • Lots of people think having a shower saves more water than having a bath. But power showers can use twice as much, so try to cut the amount of time you use it. Don't turn it on until you are ready to get in.
  • Wait until you've got a big pile of washing or washing up to do, rather than doing it as you go along.
  • Adjust the lawn mower so you do not cut so short. That way the longer grass will shade the roots from the sun.
  • Think about getting a water butt and special attachment that catches rain directly from the down pipe.
6:01am 16th April 2012

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