MOST of Wales has now been declared as officially in drought.

In a statement by Natural Resources Wales five areas in South East and Mid Wales have been declared part of Wales' drought area as of today (August 25): the Upper Severn, the Wye, the Usk , the Valleys (Taff, Ebbw, Rhymney, Ely) and the Vale of Glamorgan (Thaw).

The announcement follows the declartion of a drought in the south and west, from Bridgened to Ceredigion, last week.

During droughts, water companies can take measures to reduce demand and conserve supplies where they have areas of concern, such as the Dwr Cymru Welsh Water's hosepipe ban currently in force in Pembrokeshire and parts of Carmarthenshire.

Natural Resources Wales has urged the public to continue to follow the advice of their local water company and to contact their local authority should they have concerns around private water supplies.

While essential supplies of water remain safe, the public and businesses in drought affected areas are being urged to be very mindful of the pressures on water resources and use water wisely.

According to the statement released by Natural Resources Wales the decision to move the area from prolonged dry weather status to drought status was agreed following the meeting of the Wales Drought Liaison Group where the latest hydrological data and the wider implications of low river flows and groundwater levels was considered.

Concerns were raised about the impact these conditions could have on Wales habitats and species, as well as water users in these areas.

Natalie Hall, sustainable water manager for Natural Resources Wales, said: “The prolonged period of dry and hot weather has seen our natural environment placed under extreme pressure.

“With little in the way of significant rainfall in the forecast, and with the impact the ongoing situation is having on the very ecosystems we all depend on, we have taken the decision to move the South-East of Wales and parts of Mid Wales into drought status from today.

“With South-West Wales already in drought, we’re keeping a close eye on the situation in North Wales and the rest of Mid Wales. We remain in regular contact with water companies, local authorities and other partners regarding any emerging impacts on the environment, agriculture, and water supplies right across Wales, and will not hesitate to take any further action as needed.”