U.K. Drought in 22nd Month Forces Water Restrictions

Kemble Water Holdings Ltd.’s Thames Water unit, the U.K.’s largest water company that serves 8.8 million homes and businesses in London, joined six rivals in imposing water restrictions after a 22-month drought.

Anglian Water, South East Water, Southern Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Southeast and Veolia Water Central also are suppliers with bans that begin today, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

New “hose-pipe bans” restrict the use of garden hoses to water yards, wash cars, fill pools, ponds and fountains, and clean windows, walls and patios. Violations can result in a fine of as much as 1,000 pounds ($1,600), Defra said.

“The whole of the southeast and East Anglia are already in drought,” it said. The drought could spread as far north as East Yorkshire and west to the Hampshire-Wiltshire border if the dry weather continues this spring, Defra said on its website, citing a March 12 report by the Environment Agency.

Parts of central and eastern England have been in drought since June while London and most of the southeast are now enduring the same after a dry winter, according to the Environment Agency. East Anglia, which includes Cambridge and Norwich, has had the driest six months since records began in 1921. The agency reported last week that parts of Yorkshire from Sheffield to Scarborough are now in the drought zone.

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