Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said the threshold to trigger drought status in south-west Wales was met yesterday. NRW and the Welsh Government’s Drought Liaison Group came to the decision after discussing the impact of the prolonged heatwave. The scorching temperatures are set to have particularly affected rivers and reservoirs.
The areas affected include North Ceredigion, Teifi, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen, Swansea, Llanelli, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend. Pembrokeshire and parts of Carmarthenshire have also been struck with a hosepipe ban in an effort to alleviate the strain on public water supplies.
NRW’s Natalie Hall said: “Prolonged dry weather can lead to drought when rainfall remains low. This can impact some of our most precious habitats and species as well as systems we often take for granted, such as our water supplies.
“We have decided to declare a state of drought in south-west Wales after it was clear the lack of rain and recent heat have put a huge strain on our rivers, reservoirs and groundwater levels.
“While certain parts of Wales may be experiencing rain, it can still take a long time to recover from drought, making water a precious resource.”
The whole region had just 65.5 percent of its average rainfall in July. All river lows are lower than expected for this time of year.
NRW said the Ewenny, Teifi and Taf rivers are “particularly low”.
The incredibly low water levels have led to the re-emergence of the remains of Llanwddyn village in Powys.
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This village was flooded in the 19th century to create the Lake Vyrnwy reservoir and supply water to Liverpool. The rest of the country is also impacted by the dry weather.
Wales has experienced its driest five-month period in 40 years between March and July. Last year Wales used the equivalent of 356 Olympic pools of water every day and in recent weeks the country’s daily demand has increased by 25 percent.
Experts have said any rain currently forecast is expected to be short, intense and unlikely to make a substantial impact on the situation. They added very wet weather will be needed throughout autumn and winter to ensure recovery.