The Environment Agency has downgraded irrigation prospects for the 2019 season due to lower than average rainfall and available weather forecasts
Prospects in East Anglia, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire are now rated ‘poor’ meaning growers were likely to face restrictions on abstraction for irrigation during the growing season due to low water levels.
Many other areas are assessed as having ‘moderate’ status meaning controls may be placed on surface water abstraction if hot and dry conditions prevail in summer.
Full detail on the EA’s assessments for each area can be found in the May 2019 prospects for irrigation on ahdb.org.uk/weather.
AHDB’s Water Resources Management expert Nicola Dunn, said: “The current outlook is for a difficult irrigation season due to lower than average rainfall over the winter months following last year’s drought.
“The wet weather in March was not enough to make up for the lack of recover in groundwater and river flows have also been declining due to recent dry weather.
“While some wet weather over the summer is always a possibility, the EA’s prospects suggest that frequent restrictions on abstraction are likely, especially in key growing areas in the East.”
Paul Hammett, NFU's water specialist said farmers and growers were bracing themselves for a
He urged farmers to consider how they could be affected by running out of water and
to make plans, where possible, to manage water shortages.