Warning signs of drought

Published: Wednesday, 08 March 2023

THERE are warning signs in mainland Europe that the drought and water problems of 2022 have not gone away, writes Roger Fox.

Yet little is being written about the situation in the UK.

According to the EU’s Copernicus drought observatory, Europe experienced its third warmest January since records began, and the UK has just experienced a near rain free February.

Severe shortage

The published drought map shows most of France, most of England and Wales and Ireland affected with a severe shortage in eastern Ireland and parts of central Europe.

Gondolas in Venice are grounding on the Grand Canal, and the Canal du Midi in SW France is trying to save water by only passing boats through locks in groups. The Loire has not recovered from 2022 with large shoals visible. Levels on the Rhine are well below historical expectations.

Not very successful

This news cannot augur well for the 2023 boating season in the UK, coming as it does on the back of the not very successful CaRT Winter Works Programme which was intended to have improved the leakage situation.