Millions of households will have hosepipe bans by Easter, water firms announced as the Environment Agency warned of "severe drought" in the coming months.
Seven water companies across southern and eastern England are bringing in hosepipe bans from April 5, following two unusually dry winters which have left reservoirs, aquifers and rivers well below normal levels.
The companies are:
- Southern Water
- South East Water
- Thames Water
- Anglian Water
- East Surrey
- Veolia Central
- Veolia South East
The move comes as the Environment Agency said the drought, which has already gripped the South East and East Anglia, could spread as far north as East Yorkshire and as far west as the Hampshire-Wiltshire border if the dry weather continues.
And with sufficient rain to boost low groundwater and river levels unlikely in the coming weeks, a report from the agency said it was "anticipating a severe drought in spring and summer 2012".