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GORDON HENDERSON MP

FOR SITTINGBOURNE & SHEPPEY

South East - Water Drought

Please find below a letter received from Andrew Pearce MP. I would like to draw to your attention the final paragraph and urge my constituents to contact the Environment Agency incident hotline if they see any problems.

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Dear Gordon
 
Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Environment, has announced today that the south east of England is in drought.
 
A prolonged dry spell started in October 2010, and the south east has received only 80% of average rainfall over the past 16 months. Ten of the past 16 months have seen below average rainfall in Kent and South London, and despite a slightly wetter than average December groundwater (underground water that is held in soil and rocks) levels are very low. There are low flows in many rivers across the area and reservoirs are low for this time of year.
 
If the drought continues we expect more water companies to apply for drought permits allowing them to abstract more from the environment for public water supplies. There is less water available than normal for people and the environment. We will consider each application on a case by case basis and their potential impact on the environment.
 
We are monitoring water levels in the environment and sharing this information with local water abstractors (water companies, farmers, etc) so they can understand the full picture and take action. By working with local abstractors at an early stage we have put plans in place to balance the water needs of people and the environment.
 
With the prospect that the drought could continue into the summer we can all help the situation by using water wisely and help achieve a balance across the needs of people, businesses and the environment.
 
Our Kent and South London Water Situation Report is published monthly on our website at: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/library/publications/127606.aspx.
 
In early March we will be issuing our Drought Prospects report which will show the current water resource and the forecast for spring and summer 2012. Please see our website to view the latest full report for winter and spring 2011/ 2012: http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/PDF/GEHO1111BVDT-E-E.pdf
 
Please ask your constituents to call our 24 hour incident hotline on 0800 807060 to report any low flow incidents such as fish in distress.
 
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss this further.
 
Regards

Andrew Pearce MP

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