A hosepipe ban is being introduced in parts of the West Country this week, following a prolonged period of dryness.
The region is experiencing its worst drought in 26 years, declared by experts ten days ago.
South West Water and Thames Water are the latest companies to declare a temporary usage ban, has been imposed in parts of its region.
The ban has been issued to protect water sources after months of low rainfall.
The South West was officially declared to be in drought last Friday (August 19) by the National Drought Group.
In a statement online, South West Water said: “We’ve done our best to avoid this ban. We’ve increased the amount of water we can store - doubling it since the last drought in 1976.
“We’ve opened reservoirs, installed a new borehole, and improved the way we can move water across the region to help keep everyone’s taps running.
“At the same time, we’ve reduced the amount of water lost through our own pipes.
“But all of this hasn’t been enough.”
In a similar statement, Thames Water said: “We’ve been working around the clock to supply everyone, and customers have been brilliant at saving water where they can.
“But, with low rainfall forecast for the coming months, we now need to take the next step in our drought plan. Everything we do now will help protect supplies next summer and help the environment.”
Anyone caught using a hosepipe risks a £1,000 fine.
Which regions are affected?
South West Water has announced a hosepipe ban in Cornwall and North Devon from Tuesday (August 23)
Thames Water has followed suit, announcing a ban in Gloucestershire and North Wiltshire from Wednesday (August 24)
From midnight on each of these dates, residents are banned from using a hose pipe to water gardens, wash cars and other vehicles, fill ponds, swimming pools or paddling pools, fill water fountains and to clean windows, paths or other outdoor surfaces.
The ban applies to hosepipes, and anything attached to them, like sprinklers and jet washers.
What exemptions are there?
There are some exemptions to the ban, for specific and unavoidable circumstances.
A hosepipe can be used when it is needed for health and safety reasons. This could be to remove or minimise risk to human or animal wellbeing, or to prevent the spread of causative agents or disease.
Thames Water say you can use a hosepipe on an allotment – but not in a garden – to water food being grown there, where essential. They added that people can water new new trees, grass and plants for the first 28 days from planting, whether you or a business has done the planting.