Britain is facing a summer drought horror after one of the most flooded winters in history.
Experts warn we’re likely to see more “very wet winters and very dry summers” in future and action is needed immediately to protect the country.
Last year was one of the worst for flooding and drought in England since 2012.
Ian Hepburn, of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, said: “Exceptionally serious drought and floods created a perfect storm for our waters and wildlife last year, with our globally rare chalk streams particularly badly hit.
“Climate change means that without radical action many more years of flood and drought crises lie ahead.
"We need substantial, consistent and urgent investment from the government in our water watchdogs and natural flood and drought defences or our rivers and lakes, and the wildlife that relies on them, will continue to deteriorate.”
Richard Benwell, the chief executive of Wildlife and Countryside Link, added heavy rain this spring would lead to more flooding misery in the wake of Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge.
But Britain's rivers could still dry up if the summer is too hot and dry, as they did in 2018.
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Last year there were more than 5,600 flood warnings in England – more than in any of the last 15 years except 2012.
Meanwhile, groundwater levels were lower than normal in 25 areas the most since records began in 2006.
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “We will continue to work closely with Natural England and the Environment Agency to ensure they have the right resources to continue to not only protect our natural environment but also improve it for future generations.”
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