Southern Water becomes the first company to issue hosepipe ban

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 (PA)
(PA)

Southern Water has become the first company to issue a hosepipe ban due to the recent period of dry weather.

As a result of the prolonged hot weather across the country, drought measures will be introduced in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from August 5.

The ban is the first the company has introduced in the region since 2021, and comes after the Met Office reported that this July has been the driest since 1911.

Dr Alison Hoyle, director of risk and compliance at Southern Water, said: “We’re experiencing one of the driest years on record for over a century and we’ve seen record temperatures.

“River flows are approximately 25 per cent lower than they should be for July, which is equivalent to losing more than 25 million bathtubs of water.

“We’re asking our customers to help protect our rivers and the habitats that live there by cutting back their water use. We believe a temporary use ban is a responsible and vital step to reducing the amount of water being taken from the rivers Test and Itchen.”

Approximately one million people are now expected to be affected by the new measures.

“We haven’t taken this decision lightly and we know the temporary use ban will have an impact on our customers.

“We’re working with the Environment Agency to ensure that we act responsibly to protect our environment. We’re asking everyone in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to do their bit by supporting these measures and only use the water that they need,” Dr Hoyle added.

An Environment Agency (EA) spokesman said most of England has moved to Prolonged Dry Weather status but most water companies are maintaining reservoir storage for summer demand.

The spokesman added that the EA was working closely with water companies to take precautionary action such as Southern Water’s ban to reduce unnecessary water use.

He said: "The prolonged dry weather we are all experiencing this year has led to exceptionally low river flows across much of England and reservoir levels are falling across Yorkshire, central and south-west England.

"While recent extreme temperatures are now behind us, they have increased the likelihood of local impacts and have put pressure on the water environment and wildlife.

"The recent National Drought Group meeting was an important step in agreeing joint actions with water companies to manage water resources to ensure the needs of water users and the environment are met.

"Water companies are enacting their drought plans and taking further precautionary measures like temporary-use bans to maintain water supply.

"Environment Agency teams continue to work hard to monitor river levels, work with abstractors and respond to environmental incidents."

This comes after the UK experienced record-breaking temperatures earlier this month while rainfall has dropped to its lowest since the 1970s.

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