Tadpoles this spring will be facing more than the usual predatory threats of fish, birds and children with jam jars. Amid the worst drought in 30 years "a wildlife tragedy" is looming that could inflict a heavy toll on some of England's best-loved species ...
... Perkins [Wildlife Trusts] blamed the loss of life on overuse of water. "We urgently need to change the way we use water at home and across businesses. Saving water now could save wildlife from an absolute disaster."
I'm not really convinced that encouraging businesses and householders to use less water is going to result in more water in ponds this year, what we need is rain. It should also be remembered that whilst a dry pond in 2012 may prevent amphibians from breeding, it will also remove important aquatic predators such as fish. Amphibian breeding success in such ponds could therefore be much higher than normal in 2013.
What would be problematic is a prolonged period of successive dry winters and springs. Whilst alarm bells may be ringing I don't think we are at the tradgedy stage just yet.
[Update 3/5/2012] - Well we certainly have had some rain recently! Most of the Kent ponds that I survey are now full of water and great crested newts appear to be laying plenty of eggs.