Date announced for start of hosepipe ban in Aylesbury
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The Temporary Use Ban (TUB) is due to come into effect at 00:01 BST on Wednesday, August 24.
Thames Water says this is due to unprecedented weather conditions, including the driest July in 135 years and the hottest recorded temperatures since 1885.
Domestic customers should not use hosepipes for cleaning cars, watering gardens or allotments, filling paddling pools and swimming pools and cleaning windows.
The recent heatwave and extreme temperatures have resulted in the highest demand for over 25 years with the company supplying 2.9 billion litres of water a day to customers across the region.
In some areas, during the particularly hot weather, demand for water rose by 50 per cent compared to the norm for the time of year.
With no prospect of significant rain forecast by the Met Office, Thames Water says it has already taken a number of measures to boost its water resources.
This includes work to reduce leaks and a media campaign to encourage customers to use less water.
But now the company says it needs to implement Stage 2 of its drought plan, which includes hosepipe restrictions.
It says groundwater levels are currently below normal throughout the region and declining towards levels that would be only be expected once a decade.
Reservoir storage levels in London and Farmoor, in Oxfordshire, are down to levels not seen for around 30 years, and Thames Water is drawing 120 million litres of groundwater from its North London Aquifer Recharge System (NLARS) to top up the water stored in our reservoirs.
While the TUB does not cover businesses, Thames Water is asking businesses across its area to be mindful of the drought and to use water wisely, eg by not washing commercial vehicles or by turning off water features at their premises.
CEO of Thames Water, Sarah Bentley, said: “Implementing a Temporary Use Ban for our customers has been a very difficult decision to make and one which we have not taken lightly.
"After months of below-average rainfall and the recent extreme temperatures in July and August, water resources in our region are depleted.
"Despite investing in the largest leakage reduction programme in the UK, customer demand is at unprecedented levels and we now have to move into the next phase of our drought plan to conserve water, mitigate further risk and futureproof supplies.
“I’d like to thank all of our customers for the efforts they have already made to conserve water as a result of the media campaign we have been running since May.
"Reducing demand means reducing the amount of water we have to take from the environment at a time when it is under pressure.
"I would also like to apologise to our customers who have been affected by recent incidents - our dedicated colleagues are working around the clock to manage this challenging situation.”
Sarah who joined the company towards the end of 2020, launched an eight-year Turnaround Plan in May 2021 to begin reversing years of under-performance.
Fixing leaks is a cornerstone of the plan, and the company says it has reduced leakage by over 10 per cent over the past three years, meeting the target set by its regulator, Ofwat.
It has 440 teams working around the clock to find and fix over 1,100 leaks a week, and in the next three years Thames Water plans to spend over £55 million to help reduce leakage and £200 million replacing water mains.
For more information, see www.thameswater.co.uk/water-restrictions