May 20 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Millions of Londoners are banned from using hosepipes from today as drought grips parts of the country.
Seven water companies are introducing restrictions on water use following one of the driest two-year periods on record.
Flouting the ban could lead to a £1,000 fine.
Thames Water, Southern Water, South East Water, Anglian Water, Sutton and East Surrey, Veolia Central and Veolia South East are bringing in the restrictions today, affecting about 20 million people.
Customers will no longer be able use their hosepipes for watering their gardens, washing cars or boats, hosing down patios and paths and filling swimming pools, ponds, fountains and paddling pools. Public parks and allotments will also be hit.
Utility firms insist they are necessary to preserve essential water supplies.
Enough water to fill Wembley Stadium every 36 hours is lost by Thames Water through leaks.
The Environment Agency has urged companies to do more to tackle leakage rates.
Martin Baggs, chief executive of Thames Water, said: “Imposing restrictions on the use of hosepipes, although regrettable, is the most sensible and responsible next step in encouraging everyone to use less water so we can maintain supplies for as long as it stays dry, and reduce the risk of more serious restrictions later in the year.”
Southern Water estimated that the hosepipe ban would reduce water demand by around 5% while Thames Water said its last ban in 2006 reduced demand by 10%.
Mike Hegarty, Sutton and East Surrey Water’s operations director, said: “We have said from the outset that we very much regret having to impose this bar but this drought is becoming increasingly serious.
“We have no choice if we are to protect our customers by ensuring the long-term security of their water supply.”