Thames Water to announce hosepipe ban in 'coming weeks'

Thames Water has confirmed it is planning to introduce a hosepipe ban 'in the coming weeks.'

The Reading-based utilities company is the latest provider to confirm it's looking at the water-saving measure as the dry hot summer continues across the UK.

The Met Office this morning issued an amber warning for extreme heat covering four days from Thursday to Sunday for parts of England and Wales as a new heatwave looms.

The firm which provides water to 15 million people across the Thames Valley and London said resource levels are being monitored constantly in line with Met Office forecasts, but that a temporary use ban is set to come into force for customers in the coming weeks.

It covers areas including Oxford, Portsmouth and Brighton.

In a statement a Thames Water spokesperson said: "We have a dedicated team of analysts and scientists monitoring our water resource levels at all times.

"The team takes into consideration a number of factors including Met office forecasts, reservoir storage levels and expected customer demand.

Thames Water said it is monitoring resources in line Met Office forecasts

"When considering implementing a Temporary Use Ban [TUB] we have to balance the impact on our customers and the environment. To inform our decision making we work to our Drought Plan. 

“We have been preparing for summer since the winter, making good use of abstractions earlier in the year to fill our reservoirs in London.

"We accelerated maintenance work on the QE2 reservoir  in London which has provided more storage over the past dry months. We then launched the first phase of our media campaign urging customers to use water efficiently, this was followed up in July with a second phase providing customers with lots of water saving tips.

“We have recently started supporting our supplies in other ways, including drawing water from our North London Aquifer Recharge System (NLARS) which means we need to take less water from our reservoirs. Our aim is always to ensure that we will have enough water to supply our customers, regardless of the weather.

"Given the long term forecast of dry weather and another forecast of very hot temperatures coming this week we are planning to announce a temporary use ban in the coming weeks.

"We have written to the Environment Agency to update them on our approach and informed Ofwat.

"The timing is not confirmed due to a number of operational and legal procedural requirements  but we will be updating our customers, partners, regulators and stakeholders at the earliest time to ensure a coordinated approach.

"In the meantime we continue to urge our customers to only use what they need for their essential use."

A hosepipe ban came into force for Southern Water customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight on Friday (5 August(.

South East Water which covers households in Kent and Sussex is introducing a hosepipe ban on Friday. (12 August).