Planning in case a severe drought hits the region

Jacquie Shaw of the NMRN

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DROUGHT will be top of the agenda for a summit of industry leaders in Chichester.

West Sussex County Council is hosting the summit to explore what role the authority can play following the hosepipe ban announced for most of West Sussex from April 5.

Deputy leader Lionel Barnard will meet representatives from Southern Water and South East Water on March 30.

Also invited are the Environment Agency and Portsmouth Water, which supplies the Portsmouth area.

As reported, Portsmouth Water, which has not been as badly affected by low winter rainfall, is not introducing a hosepipe ban, but has called for customers to show ‘voluntary restraint’ in their water usage.

Cllr Barnard said: ‘Obviously as a council we will be leading by example and doing all we can to reduce our own water consumption.

‘We already have several initiatives under way and the fact that we are reducing the number of buildings we operate from will mean using less water and reducing our carbon footprint generally.’

Cllr Pete Bradbury, who is involved in emergency planning, added: ‘A severe drought could impact on West Sussex in a variety of ways including the disruption of our infrastructure, health and social care systems, and by putting the vulnerable at greater risk.

‘We all hope the situation will not get worse.’