A combination of events are creating conditions that increase the risk of a hosepipe ban this summer. The main fear stems from the hot weather being experienced in the UK during May and forecast into June.
Equally problematic is the extra use of water in gardens as Brits spend more time at home during the Covid-19 lockdown. South East Water said: “We’re seeing a huge demand on our network due to more of us being at home. We’ve been treating and pumping an additional 78 million litres of water a day through our network.”
The Met Office predict that this Spring is likely to become the fourth driest on record with some regions seeing about a third of their normal rainfall levels in the last three months.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The Environment Agency said: “most companies across the country have appropriate water reserves for this time of year” and that reservoir levels are not unusually low. Underground stocks are above average and overall the prospects of a hosepipe ban in 2020 are quite low.
Lower than average rainfall in Spring is not especially worrying as this tends to even out across the year. For instance February saw very high levels of rainfall. The main concern happens when say, two seasons next to each other are very dry.
The longer-term problem comes from a warmer climate, rising population numbers and a generally increased need for water. This results in fears of hosepipe bans being passed on from year to year. Last year the greatest fear was of rivers running dry, especially in the south east. This has a knock-on effect to the following year.
In summary we believe there won’t be a hosepipe ban during 2020 in the UK, though a continued dry spell and an extended lockdown period may change this.