Thames Water has warned residents across the Thames Valley and London that they could face a hosepipe ban if more rain does not fall across the region. Though the water supplier has not yet put a ban in place, a spokesperson said they are not ruling it out.
The spokesperson said: “Whilst we’re not currently expecting to need to introduce restrictions on water use this summer, we know the water we have stored in our reservoirs will continue to reduce, so if we do not receive around or above average rainfall in the coming months this will increase pressure on our resources and may indeed result in the need for more water saving measures including restrictions.”
Concerns about hosepipe bans across the country have risen after the driest July on record in some areas.
South-east and central southern England saw an average of only 5.0mm of rain last month, while East Anglia had 5.4mm.
In both areas, this marked the lowest amount of rainfall in July since Met Office records began in 1836.
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Over May, June and July approximately 65 percent of the expected rain has fallen across the Thames Valley and London.
The stress on water supplies has been further emphasised by the highest demand for water in over 25 years.
The Thames Water spokesperson said: “The recent heatwave and extreme heat has resulted in extremely high demand, some of our highest for over 25 years.
“Our teams have been working 24/7, during incredibly hot conditions, to maintain supplies to customers, ensuring the output of our supply systems are running at maximum capacity.
“At times the demand can outstrip our capacity to treat water and hence we have been promoting the need to use water wisely to ensure we can maintain supplies for all.
“Looking slightly longer term, our reservoirs have fallen below average for this time of year.
“This is due to the fact that nine out of the last 11 months have been drier than average with underground aquifers and flows in the rivers, which we rely on for water, also lower than expected for this time of year.
“Over the last three months, our area received only 65 percent of the average rainfall, with similarly low levels of rainfall over the preceding winter and spring period.”
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When could a hosepipe ban come into force?
Although there is not a hosepipe ban being enforced by Thames Water, other suppliers in the UK have already put customers under restrictions.
Southern Water was the first to announce that just under a million people across Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight would be under a hosepipe ban.
Most recently, South East Water said it had “no choice” but to restrict the use of water in its area from August 12
This will impact customers in both Kent and Sussex.
Like Thames Water, Welsh Water has also warned that restrictions could soon be in place.
If water demand continues to grow, while supplies are low, then bans are most likely to be enforced.