RAIN'S ON WAY - BUT IT WON'T HALT DROUGHT.
THE Midlands bathed in more spring sunshine yesterday - as weather experts warned the region may suffer a drought without "substantial" rainfall.
The Environment Agency said parts of the region were "experiencing the impacts of the dry weather" with nowhere in the UK receiving more than a millimetre of rain last week.
The details emerged as Birmingham enjoyed more sun, with yesterday's top temperature around 15C (59F).
The body said it had received reports of small streams and ponds drying up in southern parts of the Midlands - with river flows similar to March 1976 levels following two unusually dry winters.
That was the year water rationing was introduced to combat what was thought to be the country's worst drought of the 20th century.
An Environment Agency spokesman said: "Without substantial rainfall, the risk of drought could spread to parts of the West Midlands and south-west England."
Water firm Severn Trent, which serves eight million customers across the Midlands and beyond, said last month that it was not expecting to impose hosepipe bans this year.
A spokesman said: "The situation remains under constant review, however, and the company is taking steps to ensure supplies are resilient both this year and next."
National drought co-ordinator Helen Vale said: "It is more important than ever that we all use water wisely and use less of it.
"We also expect water companies to do more to tackle leaks and continue their campaigns to encourage customers to use water wisely."
Seven water firms covering southern and eastern England are due to impose hosepipe bans from Thursday The weather appeared set to lend the companies a hand with some rain or even snow for this week.
A Met Office spokeswoman said: "It looks like we're going to see a few scattered showers developing through this afternoon.
"Tonight there will be a band of rain, probably fairly light, moving down from the north for a few hours into tomorrow.
"There's also a risk of sleet or snow during Tuesday but it's fairly unlikely anything will settle because of the ground being warm.
"It'll give everything a good watering, but in terms of the drought areas, at the moment it's not going to solve the issue."
WEATHER FORECAST: PAGE 6
Fun: Azeen, 8, and dad Mohamed Khan play in Cannon Hill Park. Climbing high: Rudi Fraser, aged 8, from Kings Heath in the Park. Relaxing: A couple take in the rays. Pictures: Darren Quinton