'Environmental drought' alert

PUBLISHED: 12:52 24 April 2012

EXCEPTIONALLY low rainfall saw the South West moved into environmental drought status on Monday.

But water companies have confirmed public supplies will be unaffected - with reservoir storage still high.

The Environment Agency (EA) said a lack of rain is taking its toll on wildlife and wetlands and all river flows are now much lower than expected.

Conservationists have welcomed the EA’s call for people to use water wisely.

The RSPB’s Tony Whitehead said: “Wise use of water is an essential part of dealing with a crisis which could be devastating for wildlife in our countryside.”

South West Water (SWW) foresees no need for water restrictions or hosepipe bans despite the wider region now officially being in drought status.

The company’s service area remains in a good position with total reservoir storage now at 84per cent.

Neil Whiter, SWW’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.”

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