Shropshire, United Kingdom, October 09, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- Leading water expert Jonathan Wyatt has warned that the Midlands is at risk of becoming the drought region of the UK – with farmers having to prepare for increasingly dry conditions that could badly affect crops, livestock and livelihoods.
Large areas of the East Midlands have been suffering a drought this summer due to low rainfall while other areas of the UK have had adequate or even more rainfall than usual.
Hydro-geologist Jonathan Wyatt warned that this is a pattern that could continue. He said farmers and other businesses that rely on a regular water supply should plan now to avoid major problems in years to come.
He said: “So far this year from January through to August, the Midlands has averaged rainfall levels of 44.2mm. According to our historic records, this is just over half the average of the rest of the UK. This spring has been the driest in the Midlands for around 50 years.
“It is important that farmers are prepared for even drier conditions in the future.”
Jonathan Wyatt’s warning is backed by national expert opinion. A report by the Environment Agency, Drought Prospects, concluded parts of Lincolnshire and East Anglia have been in drought during 2011, while most of the Midlands is considered to be at ‘high risk’.
The report warns that another dry winter could lead to significant problems in drought-hit areas next year and urges action now to lessen the impacts. It says that farmers need to act now and to think about how they will meet their future water needs.
Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, concluded: “This year’s drought, despite recent rain in some parts of the country, has been a wake-up call. It has been tough for many farmers and we are working hard to find ways to help them, whilst also protecting the environment.”
The report also said that prolonged dry weather presents a mixed picture for growers in the Midlands. Some horticultural crops have benefited from an earlier season and high consumer demand. But the lack of rainfall is now causing serious challenges for farmers and some cereal crops are already facing irreversible effects.
Jonathan Wyatt, Managing Director of Wyatt Bros Ltd, at Whitchurch in Shropshire, is a chartered civil engineer and hydro-geologist with more than 30 years’ experience in the UK, as well as Africa, Asia plus North and South America.
He said: “Midland farmers and producers have seen a dry winter and summer and if followed by another dry winter, drought conditions will occur.
“Small and medium sized farmers are already suffering the knock on effects. For example, some north Shropshire dairy farmers have suffered a 30 per cent reduction in grass production which has lead to increased feed costs.
“Falling groundwater levels have also affected an area near Chester where small diameter shallow artesian wells normally supply water to small cattle herds. Water in some of these wells has dropped below useable levels meaning that farmers have had to bring in temporary water from elsewhere. Normally, this means placing temporary supplies on site and transporting water daily.
“The Midlands in particular have been missing out on rainfall. Water levels are lower than usual so it is important that plans are put in place to meet water demands.
“A new well takes approximately six months to commission – from making an application to the Environment Agency for consent to drill, test pumping, pump installation, and finally to the issuing of a licence.
“However, boreholes for up to 20 cubic metres (4,400 gallons) of water per day do not require an abstraction licence from the Environment Agency. So, as long as the hydrogeology is suitable for a well with a sustainable, reliable yield, a dairy farmer, for example, can potentially save up to £7,200 a year by drilling a borehole and not purchasing water from a water company.
“If water requirements exceed 20 cubic metres a day and a licence is required, we take clients through the whole process acting as a conduit to the Environment Agency.”
For further information on water well drilling, water treatment and water engineering, please do not hesitate to contact Wyatt Bros Ltd on 01948 662526 or visit www.wyattbros.com