MORE than two million households have been hit with a hosepipe ban after the driest July since 1935.

Residents face fines of up to £1,000 if they break the rules, which will come into play from next Friday.

GettySouth East Water plans to bring in the hosepipe ban at midnight on August 12[/caption]

South East Water said it had “no choice” but to implement the ban in Kent and Sussex , which will reduce the amount of water that needs to be taken from “already stressed local water sources”.

It prohibits hosepipes being used to water gardens or clean cars and ornamental ponds and private swimming pools cannot be filled.

It comes after just eight per cent of average rainfall for July was seen in the South East last month.

The long-term forecast for August and September has similar weather.

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The Met Office confirmed on Monday that last month was England’s driest since 1935. It was also the second warmed January to July period on record.

South East Water added: “The demand for water this summer has broken all previous records, including the Covid lockdown heatwave.

“We have been producing an additional 120 million litres of water a day to supply our customers, which is the equivalent of supplying a further four towns the size of Maidstone or Eastbourne, daily.”

Lee Dance, South East Water’s head of water resources, said last week: “Clearly, we are in a very dry and warm period and the forecast is that this may continue for a number of weeks.”


He added: “We have been looking very closely at the current situation and assessing the likelihood of restrictions and other measures.

“If our assessment reveals voluntary reduction of water use will not allow us to maintain supplies of water for essential use or to protect the environment, then we may need to impose more formal bans.”

South East Water did not respond when contacted by the paper for a comment.

Other suppliers, such as Thames Water and Walsh Water have also warned they may follow suit as they urged their combined 17million customers to cut back on usage.

Thames Water said in a statement last week: “If we do not receive around or above average rainfall in the coming months, this will increase pressure on our resources and may, indeed, result in the need for more water saving measures including restrictions.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Southern Water’s announcement of a temporary-use ban for its customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is one of many measures they and other water companies should consider to reduce unnecessary use of water and protect customer supplies and the environment.”

The Consumer Council for Water said water companies were “walking a tightrope” as they try to balance demand with trying to protect the environment.

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It said: “With little rainfall on the horizon the pressure on our water supplies is likely to intensify.”

Earlier this week, the Met Office said southern England had experienced its driest July since records began in 1836.

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