Water company considers hosepipe ban

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Portsmouth Water Company is considering whether it needs to impose a hosepipe ban.

After two successive dry winters the fear of a summer drought is becoming more of a reality.

Ground water levels are now lower than in the record breaking hot summer of 1976.

Although Southern Water, which deals with waste water across the south, says it has no plans to introduce a ban in Hampshire, Portsmouth Water says it can not rule it out yet.

Andy Neve, chief engineer at Portsmouth Water, said there are three levels of measures in the company’s drought plan.

The first is asking people to be cautious with their water consumption, the second is imposing a hose pipe ban.

And the third is putting restrictions on commercial water usage such as on golf courses or by window cleaners.

‘But that’s a long way down the line,’ said Mr Neve.

‘Ground water levels are very low at the moment but we have not made a decision yet.

‘We’re watching the rainfall conditions over the next four weeks.’

Water companies, environmental groups and farmers got together at an emergency drought summit yesterday and heard that months of torrential rain was needed in some parts of the south to be able to bring water levels back to normal.

The River Kennet in Wiltshire has dried up completely west of Marlborough.

Portsmouth Water and Southern Water have an agreement in place whereby Southern can use water from Portsmouth Water.

Mr Neve said: ‘There is a pipe line between ourselves and Southern Water.

‘It was principally developed to help them out during a drought situation and it is there to use as and when they need it.

‘If there is a problem it might be used in the summer.

‘But we have a clause in the agreement that says if we’re in dire need we might have to stop the supply to them.

‘It can’t override our existing supply arrangements.’

Karen Hoy, a spokeswoman for Southern Water, said: ‘In Hampshire, ground water levels (which provides the majority of the area’s supply both directly and indirectly through the rivers) are only just below average for this time of year and there are currently no supply issues.

‘At this time, we do not envisage having to impose restrictions such as hose pipe bans in the county, however, given the prolonged dry weather the situation remains under constant review.’