Further hosepipe bans could be introduced after the environment secretary called for water companies to implement restrictions, the first public intervention by a minister over the potential drought.
George Eustice said it was “right” that some firms had already taken action to address the driest period in England since 1976.
Southern Water has enforced a hosepipe ban in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. South East Water will enforce a ban from next Friday, while Welsh Water will introduce one for Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire from 19 August barring households from using hosepipes to water their garden, wash their car or fill pools.
In an article for the Sunday Telegraph, Eustice said: “I strongly urge other water companies to take responsible action to protect and preserve our water supplies during this exceptionally dry period.”
Eustice also urged companies to do more to reduce leaks and said the government would finalise plans to make it easier to gain planning permission for new reservoirs by the end of this year.
He added: “Water companies have a duty to ensure adequate supply, and they have assured me that essential water supplies are safe.
“In accordance with their drought plans, water companies across the country have rightly taken action to mitigate the effects of this prolonged dry weather as pressure has increased on water resources and environment.”
It comes after the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology said most of the UK’s rivers were on “red alert” with campaigners calling for immediate nationwide hosepipe bans.
Last month was the driest July in England for more than 100 years and some areas have had their driest summer on record.
According to forecasts, rivers are set at the most severe drought warning level across the country, even in areas where there has been rain in recent weeks.
The Rivers Trust has accused water companies of waiting until the last minute to implement bans so as to avoid negative reactions from customers.
August 7, 2022 at 04:27AM Nadeem Badshah