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South East hosepipe ban for Kent customers enforced today

A hosepipe ban comes into force in parts of Kent today as demand for drinking water reached record levels this month.

Bosses at South East Water say the situation means it has left them with “no choice” but to introduce restrictions for their customers.

The ban was first announced on June 16, and will be enforced from today. Click here for everything you need to know.

It follows a prolonged period of dry weather and is coupled with the high temperatures in recent weeks – with the mercury hitting 30c in the county yesterday.

The water company says over the past month the climate started to impact customers across Kent, who have experienced low pressure or no water, as stocks of drinking water have reduced to very low levels in local clean water storage tanks.

South East Water’s CEO David Hinton said: “This situation has developed much more rapidly than last year.

“Understandably, we’ve seen customer demand increase in line with the hotter weather, however, this has impacted our ability to keep all customers in supply at all times.

“Despite asking for customers' help to use water for essential uses only, regrettably we’ve now been left with no choice but to introduce this temporary use ban restriction to protect customers supplies across Kent and Sussex.

It follows a prolonged period of dry weather
It follows a prolonged period of dry weather

“The long-term forecast for the rest of the summer is for a dry period with little rainfall, although temperatures may reduce slightly.

“Restricting the use of hosepipes and sprinklers to make sure we have enough water for our customers’ essential use, will ensure we can serve our vulnerable customers and to protect the local environment.”

The temporary restrictions will be enforced from today and will mean customers will be prevented from using hosepipes for watering their gardens, washing cars, patios and boats and from filling swimming and paddling pools.

Last year was the UK’s driest summer in 50 years and a similar ban was introduced by South East Water.

Mr Hinton also says climate change is increasing the frequency of these events and the firm is submitting proposals to regulator Ofwat to solve these issues.

The parts of the south east where water restrictions will be introduced on June 26
The parts of the south east where water restrictions will be introduced on June 26

He added: “I would like to thank everyone who has already taken steps to try and reduce their overall water use but despite this, demand still remains very high which is why we have taken this decision to bring in temporary use restrictions.”

Rule-breakers can be fined up to £1,000.

Affinity Water, which also has customers in Kent, has confirmed it will not be introducing a hosepipe ban.

But the firm issued a plea to customers to be mindful of water usage to help reduce overall demand and ensure there is enough for essential use over the summer.

A spokesman added: “Although our water resources are currently in a good position, and a temporary use ban is unlikely, we are continuing to monitor the levels to manage the demand.”

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