With summer in the UK comes sunburn, dodgy barbecue food and hosepipe bans. And with much of the south and east of the UK already meeting the requirements for “prolonged dry weather status”, the bans are starting to happen.
Last month was the driest July in the UK since 1984, seeing just 8% of the average rainfall for the month. In addition, November 2021 to June 2022 was the driest eight-month stretch since 1976. It seems as though much of the country is in line for a drought.
Waterways such as Aysgarth Falls in North Yorkshire ran dry in July, sparking calls for householders to limit the amount of water they use.
Where are hosepipe bans right now?
Last Friday 29th July, Southern Water issued a Temporary Use Ban that covered Hampshire and the Isle of Wight with effect from Friday 5th August. This hosepipe ban extends to people watering their gardens with hoses or sprinklers, washing their cars and even filling ornamental garden ponds or private swimming pools. There is a potential fine of up to £1,000 for anyone continuing to carry out any of these activities.
South East Water followed suit on Wednesday 3rd August, placing at least a million residents of Kent and Sussex under a similar ban from 12th August.
With the chances of more hot weather on the way, it would not be a surprise to see more hosepipe bans across the country before the end of the year.
What can we do about it?
Many experts have called on the government to invest in the water system to make it more effective. The National Infrastructure Committee warned recently that, if the UK did not manage its water better, we would see more droughts and more need to deliver emergency water supplies by lorry. It is suggesting a £20 billion investment to make the system fit for purpose.
The advice is to consider whether we need to use as much water as we do and try to use it sparingly whilst the hot weather continues.