Two million more households to be hit by hosepipe ban today as dry spell goes on

Two million more households to be hit by hosepipe ban today as dry spell goes on

Another hosepipe ban is set to hit the south of England, meaning around two million more people will be affected.

With most of England experiencing drought conditions, following the driest July since records began in 1836, South East Water will join Southern Water in carrying out plans for a ‘temporary usage ban’, according to details of a briefing leaked to the Daily Mail.

Southern Water’s ban, in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, will come into force on Friday 5 August, while South East Water (Kent and Sussex) are expected to start their block at midnight on Friday 12 August.

That will mean around three million customers will be troubled, with hosepipes not allowed to be used to clean cars, water gardens or fill up ornamental ponds and swimming pools.

Anyone found to be in breach of the restrictions could be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000.

Lee Dance, South East Water’s head of water resources, told the Daily Mail last week: “If our assessment reveals voluntary reduction of water use will not allow us to maintain supplies of water for essential use or to protect the environment, then we may need to impose more formal bans.”

The Environment Agency has described the protracted warm, dry weather as “the first stage of a drought”, with just 5mm of rain falling in south-east and south England in July, while East Anglia saw just 5.4mm.

Last week, the Isle of Man announced a “precautionary” hosepipe ban due to water stocks falling to around 70% of capacity, with Manx Utilities chairman Rob Callister explaining that the ban would last until “the availability of raw water stocks stabilises”. Anyone on the island flouting the ban could be fined £2,000.

Thames Water has suggested they could also implement a ban, while Welsh Water could do likewise in Pembrokeshire.

John Leyland of the Environment Agency revealed: “The prolonged dry weather has led to exceptionally low river levels across much of England, while reservoir levels are falling across Yorkshire and the eastern, central and south west areas.

“We are looking to the public to start taking action now. This is how droughts start and it could lead to environmental problems in August.

“We need to keep a careful eye on developments.”