A lack of rainfall in recent weeks means that hosepipe bans may be needed in the most vulnerable parts of the country this year.
A low water table in East Anglia has been made worse by only three quarters of the normal rainfall for March, April and May having fallen.
This follows on from three relatively dry winters in a row and last summer’s drought in several regions.
Hampshire facing hosepipe ban
Southern Water says it may need to apply for a drought permit to restrict water being drawn from rivers following the dry winter.
A Southern Water spokesman said: “If permits are granted then to minimise environmental damage, Southern Water will introduce temporary bans on some types of water use such as using hosepipes to water lawns or pressure washers to clean cars or patios.
“The winter was dry with only 76 per cent of the average rainfall. In May we saw less than 40 per cent of average rainfall in Hampshire.
“Based on forecasts of river flows, it is looking more likely we will have to apply for a drought permit later this summer.
“We know it would be inconvenient and disruptive having to impose such measures but protecting the environment is a task for all of us.”
Hosepipe ban needed now to stop England’s rivers drying up say campaign groups
Twelve wildlife, conservation and angling groups have demanded an immediate hosepipe ban to protect against rivers running dry in the south east this summer.
Campaigners claim that all rivers in the region are “below or severely below” normal levels and the situation is reaching “crisis point”.
The groups have written to the Environment Agency’s chief executive, Sir James Bevan, accusing the Agency of “complacency” in not dealing with the threat to millions of fish and other wildlife.
An Environment Agency said however that action wasn’t necessary yet as the situation is not at a “critical level”.
Water companies recently told the Environment Agency that they may need to “take more water than usual” from rivers and boreholes but didn’t expect to be imposing hosepipe bans in 2019.
The Environment Agency also stressed “There is enough water for all if water resources are managed properly, and we have agreed with water companies to sustain our efforts to ensure people and the environment continue to get the water they need,”.
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