Risk of South Yorkshire drought subsides in rain

Umbrellas in the rain
Umbrellas in the rain
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A TWELVE-HOUR downpour - when almost half a month’s rain fell - has left South Yorkshire on the brink of being declared drought-free.

Water firms say there is now no threat to supplies for homes and businesses, with Severn Trent’s reservoirs in the Derwent Valley up to 99.7 per cent capacity and Yorkshire Water revealing Damflask, Agden and Ewden are averaging 92 per cent.

Sheffield’s River Don stewards say water levels in the river have been ‘well above’ normal - to the extent extra work has had to be carried out removing debris to ensure smooth flow.

But no more significant rain is expected over the coming days and there are no flood warnings. The sole alert for the region is in West Yorkshire.

The Environment Agency says it is still too early to declare the risk of ‘environmental drought’ over, because officials need to see if ground and river levels return to normal once the current excess water has filtered through.

Weather forecasters say in the 12 hours to 6am yesterday, 23mm of rain were recorded at Weston Park weather station, Sheffield, compared with the monthly average of 55 to 60 for all of May.

There have now been 31.2mm of rain in Sheffield - with only 11 days of the month gone.

Adam Rollit of the River Don stewardship team said: “Water levels have been high during the rain and we have had to remove debris that has been washed downstream.

“It looks quite good for water supply for the public, although we’ll have to see what happens over the next few days. There doesn’t appear to be any drought risk now and no risk to wildlife.”

Ben Hughes, area drought manager at the Environment Agency, said: “The recent rainfall has helped groundwater and river levels in the three affected river catchments, but some groundwater levels have not fully recovered. We are continually reviewing the situation.”

Yorkshire Water said: “We would like to reassure customers that we have no plans at the moment to introduce water restrictions. However, we are keeping the situation under continuous review.

“Reservoirs across the region are 92 per cent full, however we’d still ask customers to use water wisely.”