NRW remains vigilant as Wales experiences prolonged dry weather period

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is dealing with a number of concerns as Wales experiences a period of prolonged dry weather, including wildfires, low river levels and fish mortality.

Wales has seen only 62% of its average rainfall between March and June. This, coupled with the recent heatwave, has led to extremely low river flows and to some drying up completely.

While some instances of rain over the weekend have led to the recovery of some rivers, others remain extremely low for the time of year. With no significant rain forecast, recovered river levels are also likely to recede.  

Rivers with low flows and high temperatures increase levels of stress to fish populations, leading to NRW’s recent call to freshwater anglers to take extra care while fishing to help safeguard declining fish numbers.

NRW officers have also been dealing with instances of wildfires, particularly a recent incident on the Coedydd Rheidiol Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Mid Wales that affected several hectares of land.

NRW and Welsh Government (WG) also attended the national drought group for England to address any cross-border concerns. Following the meeting it was clear the prolonged dry weather is affecting England and Wales differently.

Much of Wales’ water comes from surface water sources, whereas parts of England largely collect from groundwater. Despite similar concerns on both sides of the border, these will develop differently and on different timescales depending on how the situation develops.

Currently the potential concerns in Wales are the dry weathers’ effects on the environment, agriculture, land management and water supply chains.

Natalie Hall, Sustainable Water Manager for NRW, said:

“Prolonged periods of dry weather can impact some of our most precious habitats and species. This can also impact on sectors such as agriculture, put a strain on the water supply system and affect people's wellbeing.

“Our teams have been monitoring and responding to incidents whilst working with other regulators WG, water companies, navigation authorities and other organisations in order to understand any emerging concerns and actions to be taken.

“The last four months have been the driest in almost 40 years, making water a precious resource. We’re urging the public to save water where possible. For advice on this visit your water company’s websites or Waterwise. Remember to report any incidents to our 24-hour hotline on 0300 065 3000.”