02/05/2012 Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire


Weatherman Paul Hudson travels to Lincolnshire to examine how the county's farmers, holidaymakers and wildlife are coping with dwindling water supplies.

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Good evening, welcome to a special programme from Lincolnshire.


Tonight, drought, of what drought? You cannot have failed to notice


how wet it has been in the last few weeks. In Lincolnshire, it has


broken records. Why is the Government refusing to rule out the


use of sand by the? Of the have another dry winter, that is another


drought. -- if we have another dry winter. Also tonight, leaking pipes,


we are being told not to me bar taps running, but to the water


companies need to clear up their act? And the lack of rain in Spain,


can other countries teachers how to look after our precious water? --


As you can see, from a very swollen river here in Lincoln, it has been


a very wet April, the wettest on record. And yet Lincolnshire is


still in a serious drought, with water restrictions that could last


for months. How can it be when we have had so much rainfall, that we


are so short of water? Yet another wet day in Lincolnshire, and she


would be forgiven for thinking, why all of the fuss? And very wet April


has broken records, and in fact, this is not lost on the people of


Skegness, people in the midst of a water shortage. It is normally one


of the driest places in the country getting as much rainfall as the


Costa Brava in Spain, but the last month as felt more like Manchester


than Barcelona off. Despite the last few weeks, it has been


exceptionally dry here in Lincolnshire, and in the last two


years, they were the driest on record going back to 1910, so quite


notable. Normally, a winter rainfall replenished as the stocks


and that has not happened in the last two years, and if there is


another dry winter, it would be a very serious situation indeed. Can


be blamed for this be laid at the door of climate change? I will have


a special court cast at the end of the programme. -- a special


forecast. And despite all the recent rain, water remains a scarce


resource, and restrictions are in place with the local council lot


being happy. They would like an exemption from the hosepipe ban as


they have spent �600,000 on plants in an attempt to make the town at


its best. But with a hosepipe ban now in place, all of these flowers


will have to be watered by hand. The local authority says it is not


just about the fate of these plants that of the local economy. Recent


rain has meant that the flowers don't need watering, but in the


summer, the council says doing it by hand would be a drain on


resources. Fortunately, something else will not get done because of


the watering. -- unfortunately. We cannot let these plants die.


issue want Anglian Water to show more flexibility? -- did you want?


Yes, we had been doing as much as we could to conserve water, and the


worry for us is that this really important time when the new plans


are going in, that is when we need to make sure that we can keep


watering them. East Lindsey council is not alone in seeking relief.


Some customers say the restrictions are too tough, especially when


water leakage is such a big problem. The water companies have spent tens


of millions of pounds on infrastructure and the pipes that


bring water from boreholes and the rise of four to each home. But


despite all of this, Anglian Water loses one fifth of its water to


leaky pipes and the record in Yorkshire is worse with millions of


gallons of water leaking away every year. This footage was shot in


Boston before the drought restrictions went in place, but it


shows the water companies still have a long way to go. Pipes may be


part of the problem, but they are also part of the solution and deep


in the Lincolnshire Wolds, something significant is happening.


This piping is part of a �40 million infrastructure project and


the aim is to pump water from the North to the drought-stricken South


of the county. The pipeline will run for more than 40 miles from the


reservoir to Boston. It is not the only major Anglian Water problem,


there are also plans for a new reservoir near Lincoln. This is the


kind a project they will have to do more in the future. It is about


moving the watered down to where there is less of it down in Boston.


We know that the town of Boston is growing and will need more water


now than in the past. This money bet you were spending on the


pipeline, would it be better to spend it on the leaking pipes?


have to do both, that is why we are spending �40 million doing this and


we spent �15 million on leakage last year and we do spend the same


again next year. We fixed 30,000 leaks every year and it is very


important and we know it is important for the customers, that


is why we have an army of 300 people finding and fixing the


leakage every day. We had a very wet month indeed, you can see how


wet it is, surely this is having an impact on the drought? It has had a


marginal effect, but we're coming off the back of two dry winters,


the driest 18 months in many centuries, and it will take more


than a few wet weeks to get us back to where we want to be. Anglian


Water's customers are not the only ones feeling the pressure. There is


the national reserve here, which this network of sand-dunes being


back home of one of the barest animals and Britain. -- be the home.


The star attraction is the natterjack toad. Its mating calls


can be heard for miles away, bringing a slice of the tropics to


Lincolnshire, but it is vulnerable to drought. They like the Open s


and the shallowness of the water and they have got a shallow shelf


in front of it. -- they like the open conditions. They enjoy the


warm water to breed in out andon in there. They can come out and they


needed to survive. If it is not just the Tote having a tough time,


elsewhere on the coast, the breeding birds are vulnerable. --


the told. These birds that breed on the small islands are at risk of


having their chicks eaten by predators that no longer have water


as a deterrent. Despite all of the recent rain, the domestic hosepipe


ban in Lincolnshire continues, so how has industry been affected?


Much of this land was turned over to the production of potatoes.


every plate of chips that we consume, there is a heavy price to


play in water consumption. -- price to pay. Cleaning gum of for the


supermarket shelf uses a lot of water and the Branston potato


plants be a Lincoln is currently recycling 80 % of the water that it


users to make them acceptable for consumers. -- the plants near


Lincoln. More than half a million tons of potatoes are grown in this


part of the world, but each 2.5 kilogram bag of potatoes is the


product of will be been's with the water. Farmers are stockpiling


water. Now experts from Cranfield University have been working out


the footprint water footprint of the data production. They are


helping out with less water in the future, but if the drought


continues, this landscape could see some major changes. After two dry


winter would be in a very bad position this time next year. -- a


third the dry winter. Farmers would have much more pressure on domestic


water supply. There would be water restrictions early on and we would


need to think very carefully about viability of growing this kind of


crop in this part of the country. We might have to move to other


parts of the country that are wetter and have more reliable


rainfall. Another pipeline section goes into place. It will not be


operational until next year, so it is certainly not an instant


solution to the current drought. In the short term, we will all have to


learn to use less water, while Coming up: Will there be more rain


fall in the coming weeks? Or will this dry weather return? I will


have a special extended weather forecast for Yorkshire and


Lincolnshire later in the programme. And we had to sell their new rubra


they know a thing or two about the drought. -- and Beagle 2 so there


you rub Rev they know a little bit. What more can we learn from Europe


about the drought? In the UK, where much more used to


complaining about the rain and there has been a lot of it in the


last few weeks. In Lincolnshire, we are still definitely in a drought.


My whether colleague has taken a trip around the country to find out


what on earth is happening to the weather. -- my weather Centre


The Lake District is England's wettest place, and looking below,


there were a drought is the last thing that comes to mind. There is


rich land and the reservoirs with lots of water. But with all of this


century it has an stop raining for the last few weeks, how come there


is so much drought in England? -- it has not stopped raining. The Met


Office is looking at this change in the climate and the first place


they are looking at is the jet stream that carries the wet weather


across the Atlantic. It has displaced further north and by the


time the weather front pushes further south and east into parts


of England, there is higher pressure, so they are not doing the


job we want them to do which is to add a decent amount of rain on top


of the water levels. At this time of year, we are competing with


nature for water and everything has embarked on the spring growth. You


do not get the green and pleasant land without it. But when


everything is turning green around us and you see the river is filling


up, what you do not see in some places in the country is even more


important, and that is underground. And it is the water underground,


not the rise of fours that supplies 75 % of the population of England.


-- the wiser fors that supplies. I am visiting the National Geological


Survey in Nottingham where they are constantly monitoring the level of


groundwater in England and using information from thousands of four


holes they have created an underground map of Britain.


areas in green here, running a peerage and Lincolnshire carpenter


Yorkshire, and in the south of Britain around the south-east, it


is an important aquifer. -- running around Lincolnshire and up into


Yorkshire. I ground water levels have remained normal in the north-


west but as you move to the south- east, they drop by one third.


the last couple of years, only four months have been significantly


wetter than normal, including the April just gone which has delivered


record rain. To really find out how low the ground water stocks are,


last week I joined Andy Mackenzie This is the south Down's. Below me


is the most important source of ground water, the chalk aquifer.


Today, we'll find out how far we have to go down to find that water.


The chalk aquifer is effectively a giant pressureised sponge full of


water which the Victorians tapped with wells like this one. The water


would normally be about 20 metres below ground level. This is the


exciting bit. How far down are we? Any sign of that water? It is


looking promising. I can see a reflection towards the bottom of


the we will. We are only at about 30 metres below where with we


started. We passed the point where we'd normally find the water and


the camera keeps descending. interesting thing is you're seeing


dry walls. If there was any recharge happening you'd see


moisture. The walls would be glistening slightly and they are


not. They are completely dry. even though it has been pouring


with rain, that rain down here has not made a jot of difference yet?


No, it hasn't. It would take weeks, probably months for the water to


infiltrate. But it won't. It will be taken up by the plants. We're


coming up to 34.4 feet. This is if? That's the surface of the water.


How does it compare? We've 180 years of record. This is the fifth


or sixth driest we've seen it in April. That's pretty low? That's


pretty low. One dry winter in 1976 was followed


by a very hot summer. Now we are saying, save water, we are going to


need it. People were forced to queue in the streets to get water


from standpipes. This drought is different. It is not hot and sunny.


It has been pouring down with rain. Yet, we are being told we could be


in drought until Christmas. No- one's saying all this rain we've


been having is isn't making a difference. Of course it is. We've


had one of our wettest aeps, the there's even about flooding. But


many of us get our waters from the aquifers.


What the Victorians started with wells was soon exploited on a much


bigger scale. This is an aquifer operated by South East Water


supplying 2.1 million customers from pumping stations like this one.


Down there, that's the precious water. Just how low are the


aquifers? We are in a very serious situation. Our underground aquifers


are very, very low. We see the reservoirs and rivers, flying in


high levels with the recent rainfall and think everything's OK.


It is not the case. We are seeing all-time low levels. We have pumps


lowered down to levels they've never been to before. All-time lows.


So that means it is each worse than 1976? It is worse than 1976. It is


far more widespread across the various regions. Our greatest fear


is we have a third dry winter. The level of recharge in our ground


water is a third lower than it should be after two dry winters in


a row. We've come a long way from the Lake District. It seems we are


even further from that soaking rain that's been falling above ground.


But down here, it is winter rain that matters. And if we don't get


enough next winter, then we are all So what options do we have if


there's a third dry winter? Do the Government and water companies have


a plan? David Whitely's been to a country used to life with little


rain to find out how they cope with This church has stood here in this


valley in northern Spain for more than 500 years. The thing is, I


shouldn't even be here because this is a bottom of a reservoir. And


that spire is usually submerged under thousands of tons of water.


And the reason it's so dry is Spain is going through its worst drought


for 70 years. Reservoirs are drying up and forest fires have been


raging in other parts of the country. Look at the water line in


this reservoir. It should be that high and look how low it is. Just


below those trees is where the water should be. Incredible. So,


can Spain give us a glimpse into an uncomfortable future? Four years


ago, the situation got so bad the taps in Barcelona almost ran dry


and the city was forced to ship in supplies from France. It is three-


and-a-half million residents, like this family, have had to completely


change their attitude towards water. I find it incredible something as


simple as water had to be transported into Barcelona in


tankers. What was that like? It is a first as far as I know. Luckily


it never had to be carried through on a massive scale or for a very


long time. But, before that, there really was a sensation it would not


be easy. If the drought continued for much longer people would have


to have water rations and it would be complicated. How have you


adapted your lifestyle in the current climate? I think we took


consciousness of how precious water is when we had that drought and we


were about to have emergency measures. The children talk about


it a lot in school. At first, they had an easier time adapting to


turning the tap off all the time and would come and be the water


police. Through simple measures such as turning off taps, having


tiepltd showers and teaching water conservation in its schools,


Barcelona is well on its way to becoming one of the world's leading


cities in saving water. In. People here use just 107 litres a day


compared to 150 litres a day in the UK. Across the city, they've also


tried using water from showers to flush toilets as well as recycling


the water in Barcelona's famous fount ace. This isn't the first and


will not be the last time Barcelona faced drought. That experience four


years ago forced everyone to change the way they think about water at


every level. And this place was the answer. They


built this massive desalination plant. It is the largest in Europe.


By taking sea water from the Mediterranean, the plant can


produce 180 million litres of fresh water every day. But, that's still


only a fifth of the city's needs. So, it's used as a stop gap when


the reservoirs are low. TRANSLATION: The system is much


more secure because of this plant. But this is not total security. The


plant allows us time to funk between rainy periods. If there is


a drought, the plant can produce more. After building Europe's first


desalination plant 40 years ago, Spain is now a world 450er in the


technology. But it is not a perfect solution. The water produced here


is very expensive. And the Barcelona plant uses enough energy


to pow ear small town. -- power a small town.


This is where we use most of our energy, for generating electricity


in our power stations. Most of the rest, around 40% is used in our


homes and gardens. But the trouble is, we use too much. More than many


other developed countries. As head of water resources as Environment


Agency, it is Trevor Bishop's job to try and find a solution. Is


turning salt water into fresh water the answer? We've one big


desalination plant near London. That will be really important for


safeguarding water supplies for London. The likelihood of seeing


more desalination plants is quite high but you don't want to rely on


desalination. It is expensive and produces a lot of carbons. So not


good for the environment. We are at a lovely set of locks. Can water


companies transfer water to drier parts of the country?


Victorians started transferring water around. It underpins much of


the way we manage water resources. Manchester is supplied by water


from the Lake District largely. Moving water around, greater


connectivity within the country and networks will be part of the answer


but not the whole answer. Are we talking about a National Grid of


water? As far as electricity's concerned, if somewhere's


generating electricity you don't get blackouts in other parts of the


country. Why have restrictions in one part of the country and not


another? We are not talking about it in the same way as we use


electricity and gas. If you build a big main of water from the north to


the south of England, you can have droughts in the north of England.


You don't want to rely on dragging water around the country


exclusively. What will happen if we have a third dry winter?


Difficult to say. But we would be in a very bad place. We've never


worked out the consequences of three dry winters in a row. We've


never had three in a row. If you you'd be expecting measures to try


and conserve water that would be quite dramatic. Standpipes in the


streets. People's water supply would be cut off. They'd have to


take buckets to those standpipes. We don't know the numbers of people


involved but it could be tens of thousands easily. As far as I'm


aware, there is no strategic national plan to deal with three


dry winters in the a row. I'd like to be proven wrong. I don't know of


a plan. I think our plan is based on hope that it rains. So, is there


a strategy or not? Caroline Spellman is the Environment


Secretary. We have contingency plan. Drought is a natural phenomenon. It


can occur any time. We've seen this coming and have been planning for


it. What we are putting in place now are the measures to dole with


that. Things like the temporary restrictions on non-owe sepbgs uses


of water in a domestic setting is something we plan to do in order to


conserve water and make sure we don't have to move to more


stringent restrictions later. 3.3 billion litres of water, a


quarter of our water is lost every day. Should the targets be more


stringent. Germany only lose 10% of their water. It is the economic


regulator which sets these targets which it believes are a challenge


for the industry to meet. Water companies are being pushed to


connect up supplies across the country. Caroline Spellman says we


need to think differently about the water we use. When you go to a dry


country and explain in a country like ours we use drinking water for


everything, we wash our clothes in drinking water, wash 7 with it,


flush the loo, they are surprised by that. Can you guarantee if we


get a third dry winter we don't -- won't have water rationing. Spanned


pipes in the streets? It is far too early to tell yet whether we'll


have the wet winter we do need. Whereas it is most unlikely we'd


have standpipes this year, if we have another dry winter, that


becomes more likely. Begin the recent heavy rain and


floods in the UK, talk of standpipes may sound extraordinary.


But as they've discovered here in Spain, the world is changing.


Climate change and an expending population means demand for water


is set to increase. Even if the rains do come this winter, pretty


soon we'll all have to think of drinking water as the scars and


precious natural resource it really Crucially, what's the weather


forecast for the next week or so? There's been some lovely sunshine


in Lincolnshire today. A welcome relief compared with, as we've


heard in the programme, what's been a record-breaking April. At


Cranwell in South Lincolnshire, they smashed their rainfall record.


The data there goes back to the First World War. In Sheffield, it


has been wettest April for at least 130 years. But, of course, the main


point which needs stressing is all this rainfall comes off the back of


what's been the driest 18 month-two year period since records began in


1910. That's been the cause of the current drought in Lincolnshire and


across southern and eastern parts of the country. One of the common


questions I keep getting asked is can the plaim for this be layed at


the door of climate change? Well, on closer inspection of climate


projections, they suggest winters will become milder and wetter and


summers become drier and hotter, which is, in fact, the exact


opposite of what we've had. It is the dry winters which have caused


this drought. So, is climate change to blame? I suspect it is highly


unlikely. Anyway, let's have a look unlikely. Anyway, let's have a look


at the early part of May. It looks quite unsettled. On


Friday's chart, a cold front pushing down from the north. Behind


it, a little ridge of high pressure suggests things will become drier


and a bit more settled. Let's look at the forecast, Thursday, tomorrow,


there is a risk of so far rain in more southern parts of our region.


Perhaps further north it is mostly dry. Some rain for all of us for a


time on Friday. The weekend looking a little better. One or two showers


around but also some sunshine and, I think, for most a fair amount of


dry weather at the weekend. On Monday, a risk of some rain pushing


up from the south-west. What about after Monday for the rest of next


week? There's a lot of uncertain ity. It looks as though, after an


With much of the country in drought restrictions, BBC weatherman Paul Hudson heads to Lincolnshire to see how the county's farmers, holidaymakers and wildlife are coping with dwindling water supplies.

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