The government formally declared parts of England to be in drought on Friday as the country faces a period of prolonged hot and dry weather.
The declaration does not trigger government-level intervention, but allows water companies to go further in their steps to manage supplies.
Below are some key details:
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A DROUGHT IS DECLARED?
- All water companies are required to have a drought plan in place setting out what restrictions they may put in place on their customers in the event of a drought.
- Water companies will implement these plans, which will include temporary water use restrictions such as hosepipe bans to reduce the demand for water.
- They can also apply for drought orders and permits which legally allow more flexibility in managing water resources including abstracting more water from rivers, reservoirs or aquifers.
- Restrictions can be put in place on non-essential water use including commercial car washes and swimming pools.
- Customers may be asked to access water from standpipes or mobile water tanks.
- Farmers could face restrictions on water usage for spray irrigation.
- The Environment Agency can ask the government to put in place restrictions on water use in industrial manufacturing or food processing which is having, or threatening to have, a severe impact on the environment or public water supply.
- Natural England, the government's conservation advisory body, may restrict access to some areas such as national nature reserves if there is a risk of fire caused by the dry conditions.
WHERE HAS A DROUGHT BEEN DECLARED?
- Devon and Cornwall
- Solent and South Downs
- Kent and South London
- Herts and North London
- East Anglia
- Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire
- East Midlands