First British hosepipe ban announced with people told save water amid drought fears

Brits across the country have been urged to save water as rivers run “exceptionally low” amid drought fears.

Today, the Environment Agency met with the Government, water companies, Water UK, the NFU and environmental protection groups including the Angling Trust and Rivers Trust.

They said that most of England have moved into a “Prolonged Dry Weather” status, which means the Environment Agency and water companies are now moving to protect water resources.

It has been stressed that England is not considered to be “in drought” and most water companies say they are maintaining good reservoir storage for summer demand.

Today’s meeting did not result in bringing in restrictions, but warned that rivers are “exceptionally low”.

Brits have instead been urged to “carefully consider the amount they are using given the unprecedented conditions”.

However, today’s meeting didn’t rule out further measures – such as hosepipe bans.

However, Manx Utilities on the Isle of Man has announced a hosepipe ban for residents from Friday.

Manx Utilities said demand for water had been significantly higher than expected for this time of the year.

Islanders who flout the ban face prosecution and fines of up to £2,000.

Last week’s unprecedented heatwave exacerbated conditions resulting from lower-than-normal rainfall so far this year in many parts of England.

It is estimated that by 2050, some rivers could have between 50 and 80 per cent less water during the summer and summer temperatures are set to be up to 7.4 degrees hotter.

Harvey Bradshaw, Environment Agency executive director for the environment and chair of the NDG, said: “While last week’s extreme high temperatures are now behind us and there are currently no plans for restrictions on essential water use, we can all do our bit by reducing unnecessary water consumption and following advice from our water company to ensure this remains the case whilst our rivers are exceptionally low.

“We are working very closely with water companies, farmers and other water users to manage the current situation.

“Today’s meeting was an important step in agreeing joint actions to protect our water resources with further dry weather forecasted for August, including ever-closer working to monitor and manage water supplies and the environment.

“Environment Agency teams are doing brilliant work across the country monitoring river levels and responding to environmental incidents, as well as enacting the early stages of our drought plans in many parts of England to protect people’s access to water and preserve the environment.”

Stuart Colville, Water UK Director of Policy, said: “Ongoing warm weather in much of the country follows the driest winter and spring since the 1970s.

“Water companies have detailed plans in place to manage water resources for customers and the environment, and are doing everything they can, including working closely with government and regulators, to minimise the need for any restrictions and ensure rivers continue to flow.

“As we continue to see extremely high demand, we are urging everyone to carefully consider the amount they are using given the unprecedented conditions.

“The water industry is running a national water saving campaign called Water’s Worth Saving that provides the public with helpful hints and tips on how to do their bit with water use in the home and garden.”