Hosepipe ban affecting millions in England begins as heatwave may return

Independent

The first hosepipe ban to be imposed in England for a decade is now in force, affecting millions of people in the south of the country ahead of another predicted heatwave.

As of 5pm on Friday, residents in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are subject to a so-called “temporary use ban” (TUB), which could see them face fines of up to £1,000 for watering their garden, cleaning a vehicle, or washing windows.

Months of sparse rainfall, combined with record-breaking temperatures in July, have left rivers at exceptionally low levels, depleted reservoirs and dried-out soils.

In Gloucestershire, the source of the River Thames has moved to five miles downstream – something the Rivers Trust described as “unprecedented”, and “sadly emblematic” of the climate emergency.

Southern Water said it has had to apply to the Environment Agency for a drought permit in order to continue taking water from the River Test, which supplies fresh water to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

It is now asking its customers in the affected areas to limit their water use “to reduce the risk of further restrictions and disruption” and “to protect our local rivers”, with the hosepipe ban set to remain in force “until we have had enough rain and the river flows are back to a normal level”.

The same measure will follow in exactly a week for South East Water customers in Kent and Sussex.

But critics point to the fact that Southern Water’s latest annual report showed it wasted nearly 21 million gallons of water a day due to leaks, only a slight reduction on the previous year…

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