Parched parts of England face a hosepipe ban amid very dry conditions and ahead of another predicted heatwave.
Outhern Water announced the move for customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from Friday, while the move for South East Water customers in Kent and Sussex will follow in exactly a week.
Months of little rainfall combined with record-breaking temperatures in July have left rivers at exceptionally low levels, depleted reservoirs and parched soil.
All of this has put pressure on the environment, agriculture and water supplies, and fueled wildfires.
The Met Office has warned that parched areas of England can expect “very little meaningful rain” on the horizon as temperatures soar into the 30s next week.
While it could mean another heatwave – if there are three days or more of above-average temperatures – it’s likely that conditions will be well below the 40C seen in some locations over the last month.
The situation has prompted calls for action to reduce water use to protect the environment and supplies, and to restore the country’s lost wetlands “on a massive scale” to cope with a future of drier summers and droughts.
Southern Water said it is asking customers to “limit their use to reduce the risk of further restrictions and disruptions to water supplies, but more importantly to protect our local rivers.”
South East Water said it was “left with no choice but to restrict the use of hoses and sprinkler systems” from midnight August 12 in Kent and Sussex “until further notice”.
The company added that it is taking the step “to ensure we have enough water for essential uses and to protect the environment” and to enable a reduction in the amount of water “we have to withdraw from already stressed local water sources.” .
Other water companies have so far held back with restrictions despite low water levels, although some say they may have to introduce bans if the dry weather continues.
Households not yet affected by restrictions are being urged to refrain from using water hoses to water the garden or clean the car.
Thames Water’s desalination plant at Beckton in east London, which was built to provide up to 100 million liters of water a day during dry weather events, is currently out of service.
Parts of England experienced the driest July on record from 1836, following the driest eight-month period from November 2021 for the country since 1976.
There is evidence of a return to more changeable weather conditions from around mid-August, the Met Office said.
Conservation activists have criticized water companies for leaving it until the “last possible moment” to introduce restrictions when rivers are in a “distressed” state and for making last-minute announcements stimulating a surge in water demand before hosepipe bans are implemented.
Mark Lloyd, Managing Director of The Rivers Trust, said: “Every year we find ourselves in this dangerous situation and at the last possible moment, when the rivers are at their lowest, we are discussed about temporary bans on use.
“The last minute announcement is causing people to rush to wash their cars and fill their paddling pools, wash the dog and demand is increasing before the ban comes into effect.
“This should be done before the rivers deteriorate and there is not enough water for wildlife.”
The Rivers Trust is calling for accelerated measurement, rapid reduction of leaks, support for households to reduce water use, such as B. the installation of low-flow toilets and rain barrels, and sustainable drainage, including rain gardens, wetlands and permeable paving to build local water supplies underground.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/hosepipe-ban-comes-into-force-amid-hot-and-dry-conditions-41891044.html Hosepipe ban comes into force amid hot and dry conditions