Parts of England face a hosepipe ban today – as the country gears up for yet another predicted heatwave.
Brits are set to swelter as high temperatures hit the country once again – but no records will be broken this time.
People in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight are today banned from using hosepipes.
Southern Water has advised customers to ‘gently remind’ neighbours of the rules if they see them break the rules.
Meanwhile stricter advice is in place for the people of Kent and Sussex – who face a similar ban next week.
South East Water – which supplies 2.2 million properties – said it would ‘take appropriate action should your neighbour be ignoring, knowingly or unknowingly, restrictions in place’.
Other water companies are considering harsher punishments as hosepipe bans increase in number across the country.
Months of little rainfall, combined with record-breaking temperatures last month, have left rivers at exceptionally low levels, depleted reservoirs and dried out soils.
Parts of the country even officially recorded the driest July since records began in 1836.
All of this has put pressure on the environment, farming and water supplies, and is fuelling wildfires.
The Met Office has warned there is ‘very little meaningful rain’ on the horizon for parched areas of England as temperatures are set to climb into the 30s next week.
The situation has prompted calls for action to reduce water consumption to protect the environment and supplies, and to restore the country’s lost wetlands ‘on an enormous scale’ to tackle a future of more dry summers and droughts.
Southern Water said it is asking customers ‘to limit your use to reduce the risk of further restrictions and disruption to water supplies, but more importantly to protect our local rivers’.
South East Water said it had been ‘left with no choice but to restrict the use of hosepipes and sprinklers’ from midnight on August 12 within Kent and Sussex ‘until further notice’.
The firm added that it was taking the step ‘to ensure we have enough water for both essential use and to protect the environment’ and to enable a reduction in the amount of water ‘we need to take from already stressed local water sources’.
Other water firms have so far held off bringing in restrictions despite low water levels, though some say they may need to implement bans if the dry weather continues.
Nature campaigners have criticised water companies for leaving it to ‘the last possible moment’ to bring in restrictions, when rivers are in a ‘desperate’ state, and for last-minute announcements that spur an increase in water demand before hosepipe bans come in.
The source of the Thames has dried up amid drought conditions with pictures showing the scale of devastation.
Mark Lloyd, chief executive of The Rivers Trust, said: ‘Every year we get to this perilous position and at the last possible moment, when the rivers are at their lowest, we get discussion of temporary use bans.
‘Announcing it at the last minute causes people to rush to wash their cars and fill their paddling pools, wash the dog, and causes an increase in demand before the ban comes in.
‘This should happen before the rivers come to a desperate condition and there’s not enough water for wildlife.’
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