“This is the frontline of the climate crisis,” says Paul Hickey, head of water resources at the Environment Agency (EA). “I don’t think it’s understood in this nation that we are water scarce.”
The climate crisis has truly arrived in England. Three consecutive dry years have led to parts of the south-east suffering from the lowest groundwater levels ever recorded, with rivers struggling with their lowest flows and some stretches drying up completely. Many now resemble muddy ditches or are so overgrown that the casual onlooker would never know a river once ran there.