You can read and download the Environment Agency's irrigation prospects documents at the Farming Advice Service website.
What does the irrigation prospects report show?
The Environment Agency's latest report shows an overall decline in the position presented in February. Following dry weather in March and April, only four areas are ‘good to moderate’ status. The remainder are ‘moderate’.
‘Good’ status means that water levels are average or above average and supplies are expected to be safe. There is always a possibility of minor local controls on abstraction from surface water in late summer if the weather is exceptionally hot and dry.
‘Moderate’ prospects mean that water levels are low and so some controls on surface water abstraction are possible by midsummer if the weather is hot and dry. Controls on abstraction from groundwater are possible in small, sensitive groundwater areas.
“The rainfall in February was welcomed but short lived. March and April continued to see dry weather and during April, this, coupled with warmer temperatures and wind, whipped the moisture from soils and crops, particularly on the east coast. Irrigation has started earlier than normal for many and with little indication of rainfall the irrigation demand will increase. Farmers are closely following the weather forecasts and what this could mean for water availability as the irrigation season builds.”
NFU national water resources specialist Kelly Hewson-Fisher
What happens next?
The Environment Agency will continue to monitor the situation and review its position if required.