Millions affected as Thames Water hosepipe comes into force – 'Unprecedented conditions!'

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The water company, which supplies Greater London, Luton, the Thames Valley, parts of Surrey, Gloucestershire, north Wilshire and west Kent, announced the ban on 17 August due to the “unprecedented weather conditions”. The ban will mean people must not use a hosepipe that is connected to the mains water supply – ruling out a number of jobs around the home which people might believe are exempt.

In a statement issued last week, Thames Water said: “We’ve been working 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 need to take the next step in our drought plan.”

The unusually dry summer has plunged large parts of the country into drought conditions, with much of the UK’s landscape turned from green to brown to yellow.

In recent weeks, significant fires were reported in parts of London, Kent and Essex, while hot weather last week resulted in incidents of people getting into difficulty while swimming in lakes, rivers and the sea.

Despite heavy rain and flooding in parts of the UK, the ban has come into force.

As well as Thames Water, Southern Water, Southeast Water, Yorkshire Water, Southwest Water and Welsh Water have so far implemented or announced bans.

With Yorkshire Water’s ban expected to start on August 26, a total of 24 million people will be affected by restrictions on water use – including five million in Yorkshire, 2.2 million in Kent and Sussex, one million in Cornwall, parts of Devon, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 200,000 in Pembrokeshire and 80,000 on the Isle of Man.

Since bans have been introduced in recent weeks, people have been encouraged to report neighbours for breaching bans.

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The daily demand for water in England and Wales was 14 billion litres in 2018.

It suggests further water-saving measures such as reusing paddling pool water, washing dogs outside instead of in the bath, and filling ponds with rain water.

However, each day, three billion litres of water is lost through leakage, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report.

The Environment Agency has said “Government expects water companies to act to reduce leakage and fix leaking pipes as quickly as possible”.

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