Four-year drought may be breaking

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The Independent Online
THE FOUR-YEAR drought that has gripped the south and east of England may be starting to break. With a fortnight left in August, much of the country has already had a month's rainfall - and more rain is forecast today and tomorrow, writes Nicholas Schoon.

In central London, 48mm (1.88in) fell in the first 15 days of August; the long-term average for the month is 50mm (1.96in). The average rainfall across England and Wales between 1 August and 15 August was 57mm (2.24in) according to the Metereological Office - twice as much as fell in all of August last year.

But groundwater levels in the chalk aquifers of the East and South remain near or at record lows, and 675,000 people are still under hosepipe bans.

Heavy autumn and winter rains are needed in the next six months to lift the threat of water shortages next year.

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