The Environment Agency (EA) confirmed that the Midlands and South West regions have been moved to environmental drought status, despite the last month being the wettest week across England and Wales since the start of the year.
There are reports that over two months of rain fell in a 24-hour period in the London area but this is not enough to replenish the stocks of river and reservoir water as most of the water will not be captured due to the hard soil and will run to the sea. The rain is not reaching far enough underground to replenish groundwater supplies.
The latest counties to be affected include Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Derbyshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, parts of Hampshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.
However, the announcement does not, as yet, bring any additional water use restrictions in these areas. Currently, seven water companies are operating temporary use bans in the UK including Thames Water and Southern Water covering London and the South-East of England.