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Drought: The ground dries but we soldier on. Or do we?


“winter comes and we knew that rain would come again.”

As the UK faces yet another heatwave it looks like a drought is on the sweltering horizon.

Following months of lower-than-average rainfall, the National Drought Group has met to discuss whether the UK faces an official drought.

The UK Health Secretary issued a heat health warning between Tuesday 9th August and Saturday 13th. With a warning eerily reminiscent of the Covid Pandemic as the vulnerable and elderly were urged to shelter.

But this warning should not be taken lightly. With temperatures set to soar to 35c anyone is at risk of some form of struggle.

So too, is the world around us. Rivers have dropped to a profound low, with boats running aground, and waterways becoming impassable, the Environment Agency reported.

Source: Shutterstock

So, what does the possibility of a drought mean?

Well, before it has even been declared hosepipe bans are already in place or due to be in the coming weeks. The expected measures for the average person are hard to say.

So far, the government has urged a loose warning to exercise “common sense” during the heatwave. But more measures seem imminent to stem this dry tide.

But we are not in unprecedented, albeit shallow, waters right now. The UK has suffered droughts before, and more extreme measures than the ones as of right now have been implemented before.

The worst drought we have faced is thought to be that of 1976. During this year, the conditions peaked, once again, in August. The country went for weeks without rain, streams and rivers dried up; people were not only told to save water in some places the supply was shut off.

In some of the worst hit areas standpipes were the only means of water. A standpipe is a long tap installed somewhere on the street. According to Countryfile Magazine, in many places there was one standpipe for every twenty houses.

Source: Shutterstock

Clearly, the drought changed how people lived their lives from one day to the next. Perhaps, we should prepare for the same.

Despite this arduous change to people’s lives, spirits remained high. In typical British fashion people soldiered on.

“It was just something we coped with. There was no mass hysteria” says Peter Simpson in an i article. He goes on “everybody just helped each other out”. Is there anything more British sounding?

In the same article, a retired King’s College London professor, Ms. Fowley, states “I don’t know that I was unduly worried because winter comes and we knew that rain would come again”.

So, is this the attitude we will adopt this time around? In a year that saw the country united over the Queen’s jubilee, showing unwavering patriotism and unity, can we expect to see Mr. Simpson and Ms. Fowley’s spirit reignited?

We shall soon see, but one thing is for certain, it has been a long time since Brits were begging this much for a summer shower.

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