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North Kent in official state of drought
North Kent is in an official state of drought following an exceptionally dry two years in the south-east. ABIGAIL WOODCOCK finds out more.
WATER company Thames Water says water levels in the River Darent are "exceptionally low" following "below average" rainfall in the last 18 of 23 months.
The river, which is used to supply water to south London and north Kent, is currently only 31 per cent full.
Since records began in 1884, only 1892/93 and 1920/21 have seen less rainfall.
The situation led to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) declaring the county officially in drought on February 20.
Angling coach Warren White says it is a worry, despite a good dose of rainfall at the weekend.
Mr White, who runs courses out of Darenth Fishing Complex, said: "The water is running very low and where you can normally fish at certain places, you can’t as there isn’t enough water.
"The fish congregate and then they get cut off and they can’t get over the stones in the river."
He added: "From March 14 until June 16, there is a close period which means fishermen cannot fish in the river.
"Everyone needs to be vigilant in looking out for the fish and the wildlife."
Farmer Mark Harris runs Broadditch Farm in New Barn Road, Southfleet, with his brother, John.
The farm has been in the Harris family for six generations and he says the drought is a worry to his business.
The 42-year-old added: "We rely on nature to water our crops as there’s not as much rain as we would like.
"It’s a concern as we need water for our crops to grow. It’s not so vital now but in the spring and summer, we need rain.
For more information on the drought, go to defra.gov.uk
THAMES Water is advising people to be more water efficient.
Sustainability director for the company, Richard Aylard, said: "It is no longer a case of if we have a drought this year but rather when, and how bad.
"This is not just our problem, it’s everyone’s problem and we can all do our bit to help."
For water saving tips, visit thameswater.co.uk
Have your say
Bart Woodhouse, 36, Birdwood Avenue, Dartford said: "I wasn’t aware we were in a particularly dire situation.
"I am aware of the drought, but only because my dad who lives in Lancashire told me. He knew more about it here than I did."
Dennis Gillaim of Darenth, is a keen gardener.
The 70-year-old said: "We heard on the news there is a drought so we grow geraniums and marigolds as they don’t need as much water.
"We have water tubs in the garden to catch the rain water, and when making tea, we only put enough water in the kettle for two cups."
Jean Ashdown, 82, of Temple Hill said: "It’s one of those things which you have to put up with when it comes. You can’t do anything about it - you can’t make it rain."
Michael Overton, 54, of Lower Station Road, Crayford said: "I cycle to work so I see when there are wet mornings but I’m sure we have had drier periods than this in the last few years."