South East Water has announced a ban on hosepipe and sprinkler use for its customers in Kent and Sussex.
The ban will start on 12 August, with an end date that has yet to be decided.
It comes just days after Southern Water announced the first hosepipe ban of the year for customers in Hampshire and Isle of Wight. That ban starts on Friday.
South East Water said its ban is necessary to make sure there is enough water for essential use and to protect the environment, adding that the ban would reduce the amount of water taken from “already stressed local water sources”.
It said: “This has been a time of extreme weather conditions across the UK.
“Official figures show this is the driest July on record since 1935 and the period between November 2021 and July 2022 has been the driest eight-month stint since 1976.
“During July in the South East, we have only seen 8% of average rainfall for the month, and the long term forecast for August and September is for similar weather.”
It added: “The demand for water this summer has broken all previous records, including the COVID lockdown heatwave.
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“We have been producing an additional 120 million liters of water a day to supply our customers, which is the equivalent of supplying a further four towns the size of Maidstone or Eastbourne, daily.”
South East Water supplies 520 million liters of water every day to 2.2 million customers.
The water is drawn from more than 250 boreholes, six rivers, and six reservoirs.
The company’s website said that all customers in Kent and Sussex will be affected by the ban except those on the priority service register.
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Customers in Berkshire and Hampshire will not be affected, it said, adding: “Whilst demand in our supply areas in Berkshire and Hampshire has also increased considerably, we have not suffered from the same water supply issues as experienced in Kent and Sussex.
“For the time being, we are in a position that we can continue to ask our customers to apply voluntary restraint on the amount of water they use at home.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation, and will advise customers if circumstances change.”
The ban means it is forbidden to use a hosepipe that is connected to a mains water supply, including garden sprinklers.
Breaking the rules could result in a fine of up to £1,000.
Shuja Khan, chief executive of data company Arqiva, said having a water smart meter can help people control their use.
He said: “Most people have no idea how much water they use every day because it can be really hard to conceptualise.
“For example, for every 10 minutes of use, the average hosepipe uses 170 liters of water, or almost 19 flushes of a toilet in the same timeframe.
“If people knew that just one hour of hosepipe use was equivalent to the same amount of water that the average family of four consumes over two days, they might reconsider their gardening patterns.”