Hosepipe ban coming for first time in 8 years as homes left without water

Hundreds of homes without water face the prospect of the first hosepipe ban in nearly a decade as temperatures across the UK soared into the 30Cs.

South East Water has warned that their demand – which was a record 696million litres last Friday – is not sustainable.

And bosses have urged residents not to use “water-guzzling garden hoses and sprinklers” to temper a spike.

It comes as hundreds of homes in the south have been left without running water as temperatures continued to exceed 30C as the weather shows no sign of abating.

At least 300 households in West Sussex have had no tap water since Friday – and others have had intermittent supplies during the heatwave.

One man told the BBC that he was forced to bury his human waste in the garden because his toilet was not flushing.

South East Water, which supplies 2.2 million people across Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent, has apologised to customers desperate for the ability to drink and clean during the heatwave.

Bosses said it is vital families minimise their water use – meaning thousands of kids will go without a paddling pool as the UK swelters.

Although a ban is not officially in place the firm has begged households not to use "water guzzling" sprinklers and hoses.

Steve Andrews, Head of Central Operations for South East Water, said: “Our customers responded brilliantly and cut demand by 30 million litres by reducing non-essential water use on Saturday, but we need to keep this up and reduce it still further.

"By not using water-guzzling garden hoses and sprinklers as well as not jet-washing the car and patio, everyone can do their bit for their community.

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“There sounds like we should have a break in the weather next week which will bring your garden some welcome rain so please only water plants that really need it and definitely no sprinklers – your golden lawn will bounce back.

“Avoid filling a paddling pool. I was shocked to be told that the average paddling pool now needs a whopping 530 litres of water to fill them – more than three times the total daily amount of water usually used by one person. This is adding to the high demand for water seen during this hot summer weather.

“We are also asking them not to wash their cars and leave the lawn to turn golden as it will soon recover when the rain returns next week.”

South East Water said over the weekend that homeowners and visitors on their staycations were putting a strain on the country's water network as it pleaded with customers to be responsible.

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Andrews added: “Many people don’t realise that water is a fresh product which is produced 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Our water technicians have been working round the clock to produce this extra drinking quality water needed – the equivalent of filling to the brim almost half a million baths – but with this record amount of water being used daily it is getting harder to keep up.

“We are asking everyone to think carefully before turning on the garden tap and also see if they can capture and use the water twice, such as washing hands over a bowl and then using that water on the plants.”

It comes as Britain prepares for another day of scorching hot weather.

Temperatures are set to soar once again on Wednesday, with predicted highs of 36C, making parts of the country hotter than Egypt's capital Cairo.

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Today's weather will be 4C warmer than the 32C expected in the Egyptian city, and will also mark the first time since records began that the UK has experienced six days over 34C in a row.

Tuesday saw highs of 35C at Heathrow Airport, as sun-worshippers flocked to beaches and parks again.

But for thousands of people in the south east they will be unable to cool off as water supply issues continue.

Gary Walker, from Warninglid, Sussex, told the BBC he has been forced to “manually remove waste from the toilet and bury it in the garden".

He added: “I’ve had to leave the village today and escape to the coast. It's just too upsetting.

“Watching my parents – who are in their 80s – take water out of a well in the garden to put on their plants and flush their toilet is just heartbreaking.”

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