Water restrictions for Spilsby farmers

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FARMERS in Spilsby are restricted from taking water from the River Lymn after an official drought status was declared last Friday.

The Environment Agency and Defra announced the decision after records revealed the driest spring since 1910.

As a result, farmers have voluntarily put in place measures to maximise water resources, including irrigating only at night and reducing the frequency.

Farmers have also been encouraged to share resources.

Paul Hammett, NFU East Anglia senior policy adviser, said: “Moving to drought status highlights how important it is to make every drop of water count as this dry spell continues. We all need to work together – the public, farmers and industry – to get through this serious situation.”

The move is as a result of low rainfall which has left river levels lower than usual and the soil very dry.

Lincolnshire, the Cambridgeshire fens, and Northamptonshire are currently of most concern but river levels are also generally falling in the rest of the East of England, the EA states.

As reported back in May, cereal crops had already been affected by the low rainfall in our area.

The EA states that agriculture as a whole has been affected, with the overall picture mixed for producers and growers.

Some horticultural crops have benefited from an earlier season and high consumer demand but the lack of rainfall is a concern for the cereal crops, which are already facing irreversible effects.

The move to drought will not change this, but river and groundwater levels will be closely monitored by the Agency.

Further restrictions on taking water from rivers or the ground could be put in place if they become necessary, which could happen if rainfall continues to be low and or temperatures increase.

Water companies are not currently expecting to restrict domestic water supplies this summer, but are asking their customers to use water wisely.

A spokesman for Anglain Water, said: “There is no change in our position and there will be no restrictions or a hosepipe ban put in place this summer.

“We are reminded that water is a precious resource and we can help homes with water saving measures.”

Graham Wilson, planning manager at the EA, said: “What happens next is very dependent on the weather.

“Normal summer rain will reduce the rate at which rivers are falling and will help farmers and the environment especially.

“But if this is followed by a dry winter, there could be far more serious problems next year.”

l Are you worried about the low rainfall? Email amy.gallivan@jpress.co.uk