London to face water restrictions from next week, Thames Water says


A man walks in Greenwich Park, London, on August 14, 2022. On August 17, Thames Water said a Temporary Use Ban covering London and the Thames Valley would begin next week.

Dominic Lipinski | PA Images | Getty Images

LONDON — Britain’s Thames Water said Wednesday that a Temporary Use Ban covering London and the Thames Valley would begin next week, citing “unprecedented weather conditions.”

The ban is set to come into effect from Aug. 24. “Domestic customers should not use hosepipes for cleaning cars, watering gardens or allotments, filling paddling pools and swimming pools and cleaning windows,” the utility said.

Explaining its decision, the company — one of several in England and Wales to have announced water usage limits in recent weeks — said extreme temperatures and this summer’s heatwave had resulted in the highest demand for water in more than 25 years.

“The driest July since 1885, the hottest temperatures on record, and the River Thames reaching its lowest level since 2005 have led to a drop in reservoir levels in the Thames Valley and London,” it said.

The TUB does not apply to businesses, although Thames Water said it was asking those within its area “to be mindful of the drought and to use water wisely.”

This could involve companies switching off water features on their premises and not washing their vehicles, it suggested.

“Implementing a Temporary Use Ban for our customers has been a very difficult decision to make and one which we have not taken lightly,” Sarah Bentley, the Thames Water CEO, said.

“After months of below average rainfall and the recent extreme temperatures in July and August, water resources in our region are depleted,” Bentley added.

The announcement of the ban comes at a time when many water companies are facing criticism related to leaks from their pipes. For its part, Thames Water said it had teams focused on locating and fixing more than 1,100 leaks per week.

When it comes to enforcement of the ban, the firm said it hoped and expected customers to continue using water wisely.

“If we become aware of customers ignoring the restrictions, we’ll contact them to make sure they’re aware of the rules and how to use water responsibly and wisely,” it added.

“There are criminal offences for those that repeatedly ignore requests to comply with the ban.”

Heat and drought

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