No fears of drought – but gardeners face battle to keep everything green

Gardeners will have to keep on making sure their plants are kept watered. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Gardeners will have to keep on making sure their plants are kept watered. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

Despite seeing little rain in the last two months, the winter drenching means there are few fears of a drought this summer according to Anglian Water – even if born-again gardeners have to spend lockdown watering their gardens!

The last two months have been extremely dry. In April East Anglia averaged just over half the average rainfall for the month and so far this month there has also been very little rain – and there is little forecast for the last 10 days of May.

It has meant householders who have been able to give more attention to their gardens during lockdown have had to spend more time watering their plants!

But Anglian Water said the rainfall was so heavy during the winter that stocks remained high – and there was no danger of restrictions for households or businesses this year.

A spokesman said: “Our underground water courses and reservoirs are about 96% full so we are not anticipating any problems. We would obviously like people to be sensible with water but we cannot see any likelihood of restrictions.”

The winter rainfall also filled up reservoirs that many farmers have created to store water to ensure their crops are irrigated – however dry the summer is.

And Fred Best from Norwich-based forecasters Weatherquest said there was little major relief for gardeners on the horizon – the nightly watering will have to continue.

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He said: “The last few weeks have been very dry and there are no major changes expected. There might be a few showers over the weekend, but not everyone will see one and they won’t be that heavy.

“And there is some suggestion that there could be some rain on the way at the very end of the month and into the start of June – but that is some way off and still not clear.”

The winter of 2019/20 was one of the wettest on record and came at the end of several years of dry weather. By the start of March all the water courses were topped up and all talk of restrictions were lifted – however by the end of April farmers were warning that the dry spell was causing serious problems as they struggled to get their crops planted in time for them to be ready for this year’s harvest later in the year.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said most river levels were good this year and that they were not expecting any problems even though farmers were taking out abstraction licences to irrigate crops earlier than normal.

She said: “There are currently no restrictions on agricultural abstraction or irrigation, beyond the agreed licenced amounts and licence conditions. We constantly monitor rainfall, river flows and groundwater levels in relation to abstraction, and current data shows the prospects for spray irrigation this season are moderate, in keeping with our expectations for this time of year.

“Through the summer period we will continue to monitor the situation, and to update and advise all abstractor communities across Essex and Suffolk.”