Thames Water has announced a garden hose ban for 15million customers from next week.
The ban is set to come into effect from August 24 following what Thames Water called “unprecedented conditions” and the driest July in 135 years.
This comes despite Thames Water admitting it loses more than 635 million liters of water a day due to leaks and inefficient water use.
As drought was officially confirmed in several parts of the UK last week, including Kent and south London, water companies have come under increasing criticism from angry customers for imposing water bans. watering after repeatedly failing to repair leaks.
But Thames Water today insisted they have ‘more leak reduction teams than ever before’, who they say are ‘working 24/7 to find and fix more 1,100 leaks every week”.
Thames Water has announced a garden hose ban for 15million customers from next week
Dried grass on Greenwich Park in south east London is pictured on Monday morning
Dry grass in Blackheath in south east London is pictured on Monday as the heatwave continues
A statement on the company’s website said: ‘We have worked around the clock to supply everyone, and customers have been brilliant at saving water where they can. But, with low rainfall forecast for the coming months, we now have to take the next step in our drought plan.
“Everything we do now will help protect supplies next summer and protect the environment.
“We know these restrictions are impacting your daily activities around your home and beyond, and we appreciate your support.”
The temporary use ban comes after reports the River Thames has reached its lowest level since 2005 and ‘unprecedented weather conditions’.
The ban means customers cannot use any garden hose, including sprinklers, drip hoses and automatic irrigation systems to water the garden or plants; cleaning a car, walls, paths or patios; or fill a pool, pond or fountain.
However, they can still perform any of these activities if they use mains water from a bucket or watering can, or use water that does not come from the mains, such as gray water or rainwater from a water collector via a garden hose.
A Royals Parks worker using a hose to water plants in London’s Hyde Park last Wednesday
Meanwhile another garden hose ban was announced yesterday for Cornwall and parts of Devon, South West Water will introduce the policy in just over a week.
Four water companies – Manx Water, Welsh Water, Southern Water and South East Water – have already imposed bans, while Yorkshire Water said one would start on August 26.
A drought was declared in parts of England last week after the driest summer for 50 years almost completely deprived some areas of rainfall.
Sarah Bentley, CEO of Thames Water, said: “Implementing a temporary use ban for our customers was a very difficult decision to make and one that we did not take lightly.
“After months of below average rainfall and recent extreme temperatures in July and August, water resources in our region are depleted.
“Despite investing in the largest leak reduction program in the UK, customer demand is at unprecedented levels and we now need to move on to the next phase of our drought plan to conserve water, mitigate additional risks and ensure future-proof supplies.
Pictured: Sarah Bentley, CEO of Thames Water, pictured with MP Jeremy Hunt after a ‘technical glitch’ left hundreds of homes in Surrey without a running water supply
“I would like to thank all our customers for the efforts they have already made to save water following the media campaign we have been running since May. Reducing demand means reducing the amount of water we have to draw from the environment at a time when it is under pressure.
“I would also like to apologize to our customers who have been impacted by the recent incidents, our dedicated colleagues are working around the clock to manage this difficult situation.”
Very dry conditions last Friday prompted the National Drought Group to upgrade parts of South West, South and Central England and East England to official drought status.
The most recent Environment Agency data showed that rainfall totals for August ranged from 12% of the long-term average in the North East of England to 0% in the south east and south west England.
Meanwhile, river flow data revealed nearly 90 per cent of measurement sites had readings below normal, with 29 per cent labeled ‘unusually low’. Heat and drought have also weighed on agriculture.
According to the National Farmers Union, crops such as sugar beets and maize are showing signs of stress from lack of rain, while crops that depend on irrigation, such as field vegetables and potatoes, are also facing problems.
This is breaking news. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.