Hosepipe Ban In Chiswick Starts Today
Drought forces water companies to impose restrictions
A hosepipe ban comes into force in Chiswick today,(Thursday, April 5th) following one of the driest two-year periods on record.
Thames Water has introduced the restrictions along with six other water companies across southern and eastern England, affecting 20 million householders. The ban could last throughout the summer.
Domestic customers face a £1,000 fine if they use their hosepipe in defiance of the ban.
From today residents will no longer be able to use a hosepipe for watering their gardens, washing cars or boats, hosing down patios and paths, and filling swimming pools, ponds, fountains and paddling pools. Public parks and allotments are also hit.
The ban was imposed from midnight last night.
The water companies say the restrictions are necessary to preserve essential water supplies.
Martin Baggs, chief executive of Thames Water , said: "Imposing restrictions on the use of hosepipes, although regrettable, is the most sensible and responsible next step in encouraging everyone to use less water so we can maintain supplies for as long as it stays dry, and reduce the risk of more serious restrictions later in the year."
Despite some rain in the past few days, March was another dry month and the whole of the South East and East Anglia and parts of Yorkshire are officially in a state of drought. It was the third warmest March, and the fifth driest, since records began in 1910.
The Environment Agency says most reservoirs are now below normal levels and river flows are decreasing. All rivers are experiencing lower than normal flows, with two-thirds "exceptionally" low.
However despite extensive publicity from the water companies on the drought, they have been criticised for failing to do more to tackle leaks.
Water companies across England and Wales leaked more than 3.3 billion litres a day in 2010/11, according to Ofwat, the economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry.
Chiswick has experienced a number of extensive leaks over the past few months and many locals have complained that Thames Water has been slow to fix them despite the drought.
Karen Gibbs, from the Consumer Council for Water, says that with providers losing billions of litres of water every day, consumers may feel the ban is unfair.
"The companies should be aiming to exceed their leakage targets and when there's a drought on it's really important that they're being seen to be really stepping up their effort on leakage, so that customers can see that they are doing everything they can."
Householders are being urged by the companies and the government to cut their water use with measures including taking shorter showers and washing fruit and vegetables in a bowl rather than under the tap.
In some areas, drought has left groundwater below levels in the 1976 crisis when household supplies were cut off and standpipes used.
Thames Water are advising customers who need information to go to their website at: thameswater.co.uk/waterwisely