Hosepipe ban: Drought declared in eight areas of England as millions face restrictions – see how your area is affected

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A DROUGHT has been declared across parts of England.

In the middle of a four-day “extreme heat” alert and after the driest July for 87 years, the government formally announced eight areas of the country are experiencing a prolonged water shortage.

The National Drought Group (NDG) met today to discuss the continued dry weather, which is expected to come to an end on Sunday with thunderstorms and heavy rain.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs later declared the most affected areas of England – the South West, parts of southern and central, and the East – are to be moved into drought status.

This includes: Devon and Cornwall, Solent and South Downs, Kent, south London and East Sussex, Herts and north London, East Anglia, Thames, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and the East Midlands.

Yorkshire and the West Midlands are expected to be moved into the drought category later this month.

The Environment Agency (EA) and water companies are expected to implement further plans to manage the impact of low water levels, which may include further hosepipe bans – though they insist supplies are safe.

Restrictions are already in place across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Man, Kent and Sussex amid a prolonged dry spell and “record demand”.

Welsh Water has also announced those living in Pembrokeshire can no longer use hosepipes or sprinklers from August 19, and Thames Water has warned bans could cover Greater London, Thames Valley, Surrey, Gloucestershire and northern Wiltshire in the “coming weeks”.

Yorkshire Water today became the fifth company in England and Wales to announce a ban, which begins on August 26.

Director of water, Neil Dewis, said: “Our decision to introduce a hosepipe ban is based on the risk that water stocks continue to fall in the coming weeks and the need to be cautious about clean water supplies and long term river health.”

Now a drought has officially been announced, more severe measures could be introduced, including a ban on cleaning windows and washing cars.

Watering plants or gardens, filling swimming or paddling pools, and maintaining ornamental fountains could also be temporarily prohibited.

And companies could apply for drought permits to extract more water from rivers and reservoirs.

If the situation worsens, companies may need to ration water supplies to homes and businesses at certain times of day, or ask customers to access water from standpipes or mobile tanks.

By this afternoon, temperatures are to soar as high as 35C in some areas, making Britain hotter than the Bahamas, Jamaica and Barbados.

A four-day amber alert for extreme heat from the Met Office is in place for much of England and Wales until Sunday, with warnings of health impacts and disruption to travel.

Forecaster Craig Snell said: “It’s going to be an incredibly hot day, and very sunny across the board, with temperatures slightly higher than what we saw on Thursday.”

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