Drought could be declared for Somerset on Friday, as the country bakes in another heatwave.

The National Drought Group – made up of Government and agency officials, water companies and other groups such as the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) – is set to meet on Friday to discuss the prolonged dry weather.

There are expectations drought could be declared for some parts of England, including the south west, prompting action by agencies and water companies to manage water resources to ensure supplies and protect the environment.

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Met office amber weather warning for heat

The drought warning come as temperatures are set to climb to as high as 32C in Somerset - currently covered by a Met Office amber warning for extreme heat until Sunday.

The vulnerable are likely to experience adverse health effects and the wider population could also be affected, delays to travel are possible and there is an increased risk of water accidents and fires as more people head to tourist spots.

A heat health alert from the UK Health Security Agency is also in place, with experts advising people to look out for those who are older or with existing health conditions, as well as young children.

The Met Office said there could be a “thundery breakdown” to the hot weather on Monday, although it was so far uncertain which areas could see rain.

Do I have a hosepipe ban in my area?

The latest heatwave comes on top of months of low rainfall, leaving the countryside, parks and gardens parched and at risk of wildfires breaking out.

The Met Office’s fire severity index (FSI), an assessment of how severe a fire could become if one were to start, is very high for most of England and Wales, and will reach “exceptional” – the highest level – for a swathe of England stretching to the border with Wales by the weekend.

In the dry conditions, the latest hosepipe ban comes into force on Friday, for households in Kent and Sussex, to curb water use.

Southern Water has already implemented a hosepipe ban for customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and Thames Water, which supplies 15 million customers in London and the Thames Valley, has said it will bring in one in the coming weeks.

Conservationists are calling for an England-wide ban on using hosepipes to protect struggling wildlife and rivers which are at exceptionally low levels in parts of the country.

However, there are no plans currently in place for a ban in Somerset, according to Wessex water.

Wessex Water

Chard & Ilminster News: Wessex Water has said there aren't any plans for a hosepipe ban in Somerset. Picture: PAWessex Water has said there aren't any plans for a hosepipe ban in Somerset. Picture: PA

Due to Somerset’s unique water sources, there are currently no plans for a hosepipe ban in the county, despite groundwater and reservoir levels being below average.

A spokesperson from Wessex Water said: “We’ve had the driest start to the year since 1976 and over the last 12 months, only 73% of long-term average rainfall.

“Groundwater resources are below average but still above the levels of the 1976 drought.

“Reservoir storage is 61% of total capacity.”

The utility company says, in spite of the dry conditions, due to the majority of Somerset’s water supply coming from groundwater sources they have no plans to introduce a hosepipe ban.

Even though levels have dipped below average, they say that is expected at this time of year.

The spokesperson said: “There are currently no plans for a hosepipe ban in our region – the last one was in 1976.

“We are unusual in that 75% of our water is groundwater and only 25% surface water from reservoirs. This contrasts with the national picture where only about 30% comes from groundwater.

“Groundwater is more resilient so providing we get 80% of normal winter rain, we will not have any problems next year.

“We have been able to maintain supplies for customers, while also protecting the environment.”