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Monday, March 13, 2006

Thames Water imposes hosepipe ban

A 'drought across the south-east' of England has forced the UK's biggest water company to impose a hosepipe ban.

Thames Water's eight million customers will be affected by the hosepipe and sprinkler bans from next month.

Chief executive Jeremy Pelczer said: 'We are reluctant to restrict the amount of water our customers use, but the situation is serious.'

The company operates across the Thames Valley, London, and from Kent in the east to Gloucestershire in the west.

The decision by Thames Water follows a decision by five other water companies to ban hosepipes.

The Environment Agency is warning that the South East of England could be facing its most serious drought of the last 100 years.

The region has had two consecutive winters with below-average rainfall.

The period between November 2004 and January 2006 is the driest such period in south-east and central southern England in over 80 years, surpassing even the notable drought of 1974-76.

Thirteen of the last 15 months have recorded below-average rainfall, and for the period as a whole only 72% of the normal rainfall of 1001mm has been recorded.

The months between October and April are traditionally when rainfall tops up reservoirs, rivers and groundwater, replenishing supplies before the summer.

Atlantic storms are one such source of valuable rainfall, and these moisture-rich weather systems usually cross the UK during autumn and early winter.

This winter, such storms have passed to the north or the south of the country, and as a result the associated rainfall did not fall where it was needed most.


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