Temperatures in England today (August 12) are predicted to reach 35C making the country hotter than parts of the Caribbean as a drought is set to be declared for some parts of England.

By Friday afternoon, temperatures are to soar as high as 35C in southern areas of the UK, which will be hotter than the Bahamas, Jamaica and Barbados.

Hosepipe bans are being scheduled for areas with Yorkshire Water being the latest company to announce a ban, with restrictions coming into effect from August 26.

News Shopper: A dry area of land (PA)A dry area of land (PA)

What is meant by drought?

Droughts are natural events which happen when a period of low rainfall creates a shortage of water, and they reduce water supplies to different users.

Although the Environment Agency (EA) says there is no single definition.

Even though a drought is caused by a period of low rainfall, the nature, timing and effects on people, the environment, agriculture or businesses will vary.

Some droughts are short and intense, such as a hot, dry summer but others can be long and develop over multiple seasons.

When was the last drought in the UK?

The last time drought was declared in the UK was in 2018.

Other notable droughts took place in 1975 to 1976, 1989 to 1992, 1995 to 1996, 2004 to 2006 and 2010 to 2012.

A severe drought occurred from May 1975 to August 1976, when a dry winter in 1975-76 was followed by an intensely hot, dry summer.

News Shopper: Hosepipe (PA)Hosepipe (PA)

What happens if drought is declared in the UK?

If drought was declared, it might not mean much in practical terms for people’s day-to-day lives immediately, but it gives water companies the freedom to implement certain stages of their emergency plans.

Level one of most drought plans might be as simple as asking the public to voluntarily cut down on their water use, followed by restricting non-essential usage via a hosepipe ban which we’ve seen happening recently.


As the dry weather continues, this can be extended to a non-essential use ban on activities such as filling a pond, cleaning non-domestic premises and vehicles such as boats, aircraft or trains.

In extreme scenarios, water firms can ask permission from the Environment Agency to abstract water from lakes and rivers, and disused boreholes.

5 tips to help you save water amid potential drought in England

AO.com’s large appliance expert, Sophie Beckett-Smith, has put together five tips to help you save water in the home. 

1. Don't wash dishes by hand

A modern dishwasher on a full load is more water efficient than hand washing pots, saving you both time and money.

2. Be mindful with the laundry

Only put a wash on when you have a full load as doing half loads will mean you're using more water and energy.

3. Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth

Save water by turning the tap off when brushing your teeth. Leaving the tap on wastes water.

4. Don't overfill the kettle

Only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need. This will mean the kettle won't be heating excess water. 

5. Reuse cooking water on house plants

Water used to boil vegetables, grains and eggs can be used to water house plants when it has cooled.