The first hosepipe ban in 10 years could be introduced this summer as Southern Water has applied for a drought permit from the Environment Agency.
The water company uses the River Test as an example of water shortage problems in the area. The Test is apparently well below average levels for this time of year and the river provides vital supplies to the region.
Southern Water also mention a dry winter and spring, though this argument could be contested when looking at Environment Agency statistics.
Is a hosepipe ban now inevitable?
In applying for a drought permit, Southern Water are simply preparing the way for water restrictions. These applications take time and the company is simply planning for the worst.
This does not mean there will definitely be a hosepipe ban. Southern Water may only use the drought permit to introduce less severe water use restrictions, if they need to use it at all.
What about other regions?
As usual, it’s the southern parts of England and Wales that are most affected by the threat of drought.
Each of the water companies in these areas are asking customers to be conservative with their use of water at this time and these pleas extend into the northern counties as well.
Can water companies justify a hosepipe ban?
If water supplies are running out, water companies must apply for drought permits and enforce restrictions – this goes without saying.
Companies are bound to come under scrutiny though when profits remain high. Many customers argue that investment in infrastructure is low.
Water companies are also citing a dry winter and spring as causes for the current crisis. Again, many customers believe that this opinion is highly debatable.
During the recent heatwave we’ve constantly heard that our more extreme weather is caused by climate change and this argument is becoming harder to deny. This change is typically seen in our wet, flooded winters and springtimes coupled with hot and dryer summers.
Customers may feel that water companies should be doing more to store and not lose the increased rainfall we see during wetter times of the year.