Published 11/05/2012 taken from Reuters

South-west England, the Midlands and parts of Yorkshire are no longer in drought following heavy rain in recent weeks, the Environment Agency said.

Last month, the agency had said a drought affecting parts of the country could last until next year as rain over the spring and summer was unlikely to replenish low water levels.

Until the start of April, England had 18 months of very low rainfall - the driest on record in some areas - which brought drought to 17 counties in southern and central England and led water companies to impose restrictions.

But last month was the wettest April on record, according to the Met Office, and continued rainfall this month has significantly increased water levels, the environment agency said.

Southwest England, the Midlands and parts of Yorkshire are no longer in drought, but parts of East Anglia and southeast England remain in drought and restrictions on public water use are still in place.

The agency will continue to monitor water levels, it said.

"Low groundwater levels remain a concern across many parts of England, with many still at a similar level to those in 1976 and unlikely to return to normal levels before the winter," said Paul Leinster, the agency's chief executive.


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