Irrigation prospects 2023

An image of a woman watering plants in a glasshouse

The EA (Environment Agency) has issued an updated initial irrigation outlook for the 2023 season.

The updated irrigation outlook shows a very varied picture with classifications from moderate through to good.

This improved position from the initial irrigation prospects produced in February, is due to the rainfall we have received during March and April 2023. 

It is important to note that parts of East Anglia, and Devon & Cornwall remain in drought status as the rainfall received has not been enough to secure the requirements at this time. 

Status definitions

‘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.

‘Poor’ relates to water levels being well below average. Soil moisture deficit is developing early and significant restrictions on abstraction from surface and groundwater are probable.

Close monitoring

NFU national water resources specialist Kelly Hewson-Fisher said: “Following a dry start to 2023, the rainfall in March was welcomed to support reservoir fill for many farmers. We continue to have two areas of England still in drought status and the focus remains on supporting those areas.

“The weather forecast remains varied.  However, the longer term (three month) trend could see drier and warmer conditions.

“Monitoring the weather and water availability will continue as we move through the irrigation season as demand for water builds.”

Next steps

The EA will continue to monitor the situation and review its position if required.

File downloads

Ask us a question about this page

Once you have submitted your query someone from NFU CallFirst will contact you. If needed, your query will then be passed to the appropriate NFU policy team.

You have 0 characters remaining.

By completing the form with your details on this page, you are agreeing to have this information sent to the NFU for the purposes of contacting you regarding your enquiry. Please take time to read the NFU’s Privacy Policy if you require further information.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.