Drought declared for all of South West England

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Homes and businesses in Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, south Gloucestershire and parts of Wiltshire have been advised to “use water wisely”. Devon, Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly were in drought earlier this month.

Chris Paul, Environment Agency’s drought lead in the region, said: “Despite some heavy rain over the past two weeks, it has not been enough to refill our rivers and aquifers. River levels across our Wessex area are exceptionally low, many showing the lowest flows on record.

“This places incredible strain on wildlife and this is why we are moving to drought status. We are prioritising our local operations to minimise impacts on the environment.”

Eleven of 14 regions in England covering around ­45 million people are affected by drought orders. Last month was the driest July across England since 1935.

The agency added: “Government expects water companies to act to reduce leakage and fix leaking pipes as quickly as possible and take wider action.”

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