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Drought warnings despite rain

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

Bewl Water

Kent could be heading for a drought even though it has been raining this week.

Experts fear there will be a water shortage this summer after a dry winter.

Kent County Council’s senior emergency planning officer Tony Harwood said despite having a “fairly wet” autumn, there had not been enough rain in the winter to refill the rivers, with only 44% of the expected average rainfall in January and a warm and dry February.

On Monday, he told the council's flood risk management committee: “We’ve got a little bit of rain coming this week but the ground is relatively quite dry.

“Our concerns are erring on the side of concerns around drought rather than flooding at the moment.”

He explained during the heavy rain in November, water was diverted from rivers into reservoirs but “ground water and river flows are really at the bottom of normal ranges” due to less rain this winter than average.

Mr Harwood added: “We need to ensure we plan appropriately.”

However Mark Rogers from the Met Office said: “Hotter drier summers sound ideal but that causes us a few issues rainfall wise.

“That doesn’t rule out wet spells during the summer but what is more likely to happen is we end up with more thunderstorms and torrential downpours."