Half the UK's population is now facing a hosepipe ban

Half the UK’s population is now facing a hosepipe ban as leaked document shows three more water companies are eyeing the drastic measure while heatwave continues

  • Thames Water who supply 15million people are preparing for a hosepipe ban
  • Other companies such as Yorkshire, Severn Trent and South West are following
  • This could bring restrictions to some 33 million people across the UK
  • The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for the rest of the week 

Almost half of the UK population face hosepipe bans within weeks after a leaked document revealed three more water companies are planning restrictions.

Yesterday Britain’s biggest water company, Thames Water, which supplies some 15million people, said it would announce a ban in the coming weeks.

Restrictions covering nearly three million people have already been announced by Southern Water, South East Water and Welsh Water.

And an internal Environment Agency document seen by the Daily Mail reveals that the water companies discussing whether to bring in a ban are Yorkshire, with five million customers, Severn Trent with eight million and South West with up to two million. If enacted, it would bring the number of people under a hosepipe ban to around 33million.

Planned hosepipe bans could see the water supplies of some 33 million people affected as water companies struggle to cope with demand

A cow on Minchinhampton Common, Gloucestershire struggles to find shelter from the hot conditions 

Some 33 million people face having their water supplies affected as companies struggle to cope with the demand caused by the extremely warm summer

It came as the Met Office issued an amber extreme heat warning for parts of England and Wales for tomorrow until Sunday as temperatures are expected to reach 35C (95F) or 36C (97F). The UK Health and Security Agency also put the UK on a level three heat-health alert.

The hot weather led to tragedy on Monday as a 14-year-old boy died after getting into difficulty in a lake in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

There was also dire warnings that drought conditions could last three months. The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology predicts ‘exceptionally low’ flow levels in rivers until October.

Thames Water covers parts of London, Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Kent. Its hosepipe ban comes despite the fact it lets 635million litres of water a day leak from its pipes.

The Long Walk at Windsor Castle on Monday as temperatures soared again amid safety warnings as another heatwave is due to hit the UK

In this aerial photograph, a man walks along a sun-bleached pathway in Richmond Park on August 09

People sit in the sun, surrounded by parched grass during a period of hot and dry weather, in London, on August 9

The scene at Hornsey Road in Islington, north London where firefighters were dealing with a burst water main that caused flooding of about 4 feet as Thames Water urged customers to save water

The Burrator Reservoir in Devon, which as of August 6 (pictured) was 44 per cent full. It comes amid fears of a drought in England

A bridge crosses the dried bed of the River Thames near the river’s source at Thames Head, a group of springs that arise from the limestone aquifers of the Cotswolds, on August 8

Further pressure for water companies to act could come this week when the Environment Agency is expected to declare that England is in a state of drought.

The bans make it an offence to use a hosepipe to water a garden, wash a car or boat or fill up ponds, and can attract a £1,000 fine in the courts.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: ‘On the Environment Agency’s sliding scale, we are now one stage before a drought. If this dry weather picture continues, parts of England could move into drought.’

The magnificent and bone-dry Greenwich Park in south-east London as much of southern Britain has had little or no rain since late June or early July

Q&A: Where are hosepipe bans and what could happen if I break one? 

Where have hosepipe bans been introduced?

  • Manx Water: Isle of Man, from last Friday
  • Southern Water: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, from yesterday
  • South East Water: Kent and Sussex, from next Friday
  • Welsh Water: Pembrokeshire and small part of Carmarthenshire, from August 19
  • Thames Water:  Greater London, the Thames Valley, Surrey, Gloucestershire, north Wiltshire and parts of west Kent, in the ‘coming weeks’.

What are the rules?

Once the ban is in force you will not be allowed to use a hosepipe or sprinkler to water your garden, clean your car or boat, fill up a swimming or paddling pool or an ornamental pond. Pressure washing a patio is also banned. But the use of watering cans is allowed.

Who is exempt?

Those with disabilities – who have a blue badge – are exempt for watering their garden. So are those watering an area for a national or international sports event.

People watering newly laid turf and newly bought plants may apply for exemptions.

Commercial car washes and professional window cleaners are not affected by the ban.

What happens if I break the ban?

You could be prosecuted and subject to a fine of up to £1,000 in the courts if found guilty.

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