This measure, involving measures at the local level that can go as far as restrictions on the use of water, is declared for the first time since 2018.
It comes in the middle of a heat wave in the United Kingdom, the second of the summer, in a country not used to high temperatures. According to scientists, these episodes will multiply, lengthen and intensify under the effect of global warming.
An amber alert
extreme heat has been ongoing since Thursday and into Friday across much of southern England and part of Wales, according to UK forecaster Met Office. If the absolute record of 40.3°C reached on July 20 will not be reached, temperatures of up to 35°C are expected on Friday, and even 36°C during the weekend.
Water supplies are safesaid the ministry and the environment agency in a press release, adding that the authorities are calling on water companies to
continue their preventive planning in order to protect essential supplies in the event of a dry fall.
“We are better prepared than ever”
We call on everyone to manage the amount of water they use in this exceptionally dry periodsaid the chief executive of the Environment Agency, Harvey Bradshaw.
We are better prepared than ever for periods of warm weather, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation, including the impact on farmers and the environment, and take additional action if necessary.said Secretary of State for Water, Steve Double.
The UK had the driest July on record in some areas and the driest first half on record since 1976.
The situation is such that the source of the Thames is dry and the river that crosses London only begins to flow about eight kilometers further downstream, an unprecedented situation.
Wildfires are on the rise, and in London parks as in much of the country, the usual green of lawns has given way to straw yellow and dusty ground.