Allotments can cope with 20-year drought

IPSWICH: With experts warning that the region is in line for 20 years of “severe” water shortages, allotment holders in the town have said they have ways of coping with the conditions.

A new report from Anglia Ruskin university says the problems stem from significant changes in rainfall patterns, a steadily increasing population and the growing impact of climate change.

But allotment holders and the team at the People’s Community Garden at Maidenhall have measures in place to deal with the lack of rainfall without simply resorting to turning on the hosepipe.

Derrick Holder, who has an allotment at the Morland Road site and is a member of the Ipswich Allotment Holders’ Association, said he hadn’t heard of anybody with serious concerns about the dry conditions of the past year.

He said: “I was up there digging yesterday and it’s quite moist. At the moment most of the plots are quite damp [but] until we get later into the season and we get growing, we won’t know.”

Mr Holder said the influence of young families who are more aware of environmental issues was spreading across the allotment holders.

He added: “We encourage people, when they put their sheds up, to put in water butts as well. We try not to use running water. I think mainly it’s the new generation, the young families and young people who are very conscious about everything such as recycling.”

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Julie Stokes of Active Lives, which runs the People’s Community Garden, added: “We have butts all over the site collecting water and have systems in place for watering. That’s part of our project – to look at the way we use utilities and particularly water on our site.”