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The South East has experienced more droughts than any other part of the UK, with nine periods of significant drought since 1970. In 2007, most of the South East, was officially designated as an area of serious water stress by the Environment Agency. The South East experiences half the amount of rain compared with other regions of the UK but has a much larger population. Changes to rainfall patterns could lead to a 30% decrease in average river flows during 'dry' periods, with a negative water supply and demand balance, significantly impacting residents' health and wellbeing.[1]

The amount of water used in areas like the South East means that they are classified as "seriously water stressed" by the Environment Agency (based on how much water is abstracted annually compared to how much is available – per person, we have less water available in the South East of England than Morocco). Sep 22, 2019[2]

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  • Only 14% of rivers in England are classed as healthy – compared to 40% on average across Europe[3]

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England could run short of water within 25 years.[4] Mar 18


Quarter of England's rivers at risk of running dry, finds WWF.[5] Jun 24

Households in southern England urged to save water after dry winter.[6] May 5

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