Hosepipe bans come into effect

Hosepipe bans in parts of drought hit Britain have come into force since midnight. Southern Water, South East Water, Thames Water, Anglian Water, Sutton and East Surrey, Veolia Central and Veolia South East are to enforce restrictions.

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Trafalgar Square fountains 'to be turned off'

The Greater London Authority say they are working with Thames Water to find a solution to keeping the fountains on during the hosepipe ban. Credit: Reuters

The fountains in Trafalgar Square could be switched off from next week as part of the hosepipe ban.

A Greater London Authority spokesman said:

"We are working with Thames Water on finding a sustainable supply of water that will allow the fountains to be used throughout a summer of celebrations in the capital"

"As we explore alternative options the fountains are currently being used for one hour a day at a low plume using an existing store of water that is expected to last for about a week. This is to enable the water cleansing systems to work."


Hosepipe bans 'not a silver bullet'

Helen Vale, national drought co-ordinator of the Environment Agency, defended the hosepipe ban but warned that water companies and businesses must play their part to save water.

She said:

"Hosepipe bans are an effective way to cut overall water use - but they are not a silver bullet."

"While households have a very important role to play in helping to cut water use during the current drought, businesses, farmers and water companies must all play their part too, by using water wisely to ensure that the water that we do have goes further."

Environment minister: 'We are planning for the worst case scenario'

Environment Minister Richard Benyon refused to rule out further measures to monitor water use. Credit: Conservative Party

Environment minister Richard Benyon has hinted there may be more water saving measures to come, should there be a continued lack of rainfall. Mr Benyon told Sky News:

"We are planning for the worst case scenario of a third dry winter. We want to make sure farmers can still produce the food we need, and that there's enough water for the energy industry."

The Minister seemed to defend companies against recent reports that one in every six litres is wasted before it reaches our taps saying:

"We're working really hard to minimise leaks. I think it's good that the economic regulator Ofwat is making sure water companies are making this a priority [...] It's not for me to defend them, but many are dealing with Edwardian or Victorian pipework infrastructure that needs replacing."

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman stressed that the restrictions are temporary saying:

"We can all help reduce the effects of drought by respecting these restrictions and being smarter about how we use water."


Hosepipe ban 'could last until Autumn'

Hosepipes could be banned until Autumn. Credit: Press Association

Thames Water have warned that the hosepipe ban that starts today could last until next Autumn.

Richard Aylard told BBC Radio 4:

"Realistically I think it will be in place throughout the summer and into the autumn unless we have an unusually wet year."

"This situation has taken a couple of years to build up, it will take quite a long time to put right."

Water companies leak 'over 3.3 billion litres a day'

Water companies across England and Wales leaked more than 3.3 billion litres of water a day in 2010/11, according to Ofwat, the economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry.

The Environment Agency has urged companies to do more to tackle leakage rates.

Anglican and Southern were among the companies to fail to meet their water leakage targets last year.

Richard Aylard, Thames Water sustainability director, defended his company:

They are not obscene, they are high, partly a consequence of very old pipes, 20% of London's water pipes are over 150 years old.

With this ban we would expect to see up to 150 million litres of water a day saved.

To get the same saving from replacing leaky pipes would cost £1.2 billion and take 10 years so we have to be practical about this.

– Richard Aylard, Thames Water
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