South East Water tells customers to get in touch if a neighbour is ‘ignoring’ hosepipe bans

Hotline for the hosepipe SNITCHERS! South East Water tells customers to get in touch if a neighbour is ‘ignoring’ bans as three million homes face water restrictions while UK’s record-breaking dry spell continues

  • South East Water has confirmed a ‘temporary usage ban’ from August 12 for people in Kent and Sussex 
  • It has asked customers to get in touch via an online form if a neighbour is ‘ignoring’ hosepipe bans
  • Around 2.2million customers across the counties will be hit by the ban on hosepipes and sprinkers
  • Southern Water last week announced hosepipe ban for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from this Friday
  • Some Britons are complaining on Twitter about neighbours filling up paddling pools and washing cars

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South East Water has asked customers to get in touch if a neighbour is ‘ignoring’ hosepipe bans as three million homes face water restrictions while UK’s record-breaking dry spell continues.

The supplier has placed a contact link on its website for Brits who spot that their neighbour could be disregarding the restrictions.

If a report is made, the company said that it will at ‘check to see if any exemptions are in place and take the appropriate action should your neighbour be ignoring, knowingly or unknowingly, the restrictions in place’.

It comes as Britons already complaining on social media about neighbours filling up paddling pools and washing cars, with three million residents of southern England preparing for a hosepipe ban in the coming days.

South East Water today confirmed a hosepipe ban across Kent and Sussex from next Friday which will affect around 2.2million customers, as Britain’s dry spell continues following a record-breaking July for lack of rain. The ‘temporary usage ban’ means the use of hosepipes or sprinklers will be restricted for residents of those counties.

The water firm – which is the second to bring in a hosepipe ban so far this summer – lost 88.7million litres of water a day through leaking pipes last year, and said demand for water this summer has broken all previous records.

Southern Water last week announced a ban for nearly a million people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from this Friday. It means hosepipes cannot be used to water gardens or clean cars, and ornamental ponds and private pools must not be filled. Flouting the restriction could lead to prosecution and a court fine of up to £1,000.

And neighbours are already pointing out that some residents could be in for a surprise when the ban comes in. One Twitter user said: ‘There’s a neighbour of mine who’s always washing his pride and joy outside on the driveway. He doesn’t know it yet but there’ll be a fine coming his way as soon as hosepipe ban is enforced.’

South East Water told customers that if they see a neighbour using a hosepipe or sprinkler during the ban, they should ‘contact us via www.southeastwater.co.uk/tubs so that we can check to see if any exemptions are in place and take the appropriate action should your neighbour be ignoring, knowingly or unknowingly, the restrictions in place’. The company also confirmed that it has a ‘dedicated temporary use ban line’ on 0333 000 0017. 

It comes as forecasters said the UK can expect cooler and ‘fresher’ days for the rest of this week with the mercury in the low-to-mid 20Cs tomorrow and on Friday, before high temperatures return into the weekend. 

Yesterday’s rainfall in the north Midlands and northern England is set to move to southern parts of the Midlands, into central and southern England and East Anglia today, but is expected to become lighter.

Met Office meteorologist Craig Snell said: ‘No real major signs of anything wet coming through for the South and generally the kind of warm theme is continuing for a lot of the country after a very brief cooler spell on Thursday and Friday.’

In mainland Europe, the very hot weather continues – with temperatures of 38C (100F) in Madrid and Bordeaux, 37C (99F) in Rome and Berlin and 36C (97F) in Paris and Palermo expected over the next few days. 

Ardingly reservoir in West Sussex, file picture
Ardingly reservoir in West Sussex today
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THEN AND NOW: A file picture of a full Ardingly reservoir in West Sussex (left), owned by South East Water, the water supplier for Kent and Sussex which will restrict the use of hosepipes and sprinklers. There is also a picture of the reservoir today (right)

Ardingly reservoir in West Sussex, file picture
Ardingly reservoir in West Sussex today
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THEN AND NOW: Another file image of a full Ardingly reservoir in West Sussex (left), which is also photographed today (right)

Ardingly reservoir in West Sussex, file picture
Ardingly reservoir in West Sussex today
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THEN AND NOW: A file photograph of a full Ardingly reservoir in West Sussex (left), which is also seen today (right)

South East Water has asked customers to get in touch if a neighbour is 'ignoring' hosepipe bans as three million homes face water restrictions while UK's record-breaking dry spell continues

South East Water has asked customers to get in touch if a neighbour is ‘ignoring’ hosepipe bans as three million homes face water restrictions while UK’s record-breaking dry spell continues

A man looks at Ardingly reservoir today in West Sussex, which is owned and managed by South East Water

A man looks at Ardingly reservoir today in West Sussex, which is owned and managed by South East Water

People on boats at Ardingly reservoir in West Sussex today as South East Water prepares to bring in a hosepipe ban

People on boats at Ardingly reservoir in West Sussex today as South East Water prepares to bring in a hosepipe ban

A view of Ardingly reservoir today in West Sussex, owned by South East Water, the water supplier for Kent and Sussex

A view of Ardingly reservoir today in West Sussex, owned by South East Water, the water supplier for Kent and Sussex

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THEN AND NOW: The water level at Bewl Water reservoir (left, in May 2021; and right, last Tuesday) near Lamberhurst in Kent, which is currently measured at 67 per cent of its capacity

Thursday's weather

Friday's weather

Saturday's weather

Sunday's weather

Discussing usage of water, one Twitter user said: ‘Neighbours bought a huge paddling pool for the kids and filled it up to the brim.’ And a third tweeted: ‘Saw another person washing their car yesterday, really, that’s necessary is it?’

A fourth added: ‘Luckily I live with amazing neighbours and after not grassing on them for not observing any lockdown rules in their back garden, I’m sure they won’t mention my use of the hosepipe to water my veggies.’

An internal South East Water briefing on plans for the new ban, seen by the Daily Mail yesterday, noted that other water companies could follow suit as they are ‘really thinking hard on their positions’.

The firm has already called on its customers to voluntarily turn off their hosepipes and sprinkler systems as the hot, dry weather continues.

Hosepipe ban tweets

Hosepipe ban tweets

Hosepipe ban tweets

Hosepipe ban tweets

Hosepipe ban tweets

Hosepipe ban tweets

The Met Office said southern England had seen its driest July since records began in 1836

The Met Office said southern England had seen its driest July since records began in 1836

Around 2.2million customers across Kent and Sussex in the shaded areas will be hit by the ban

Around 2.2million customers across Kent and Sussex in the shaded areas will be hit by the ban

South East Water has confirmed a 'temporary usage ban' in Kent and Sussex from August 12

South East Water has confirmed a ‘temporary usage ban’ in Kent and Sussex from August 12

Southern Water will bring a ban for nearly a million of its customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from this Friday. Its service map is pictured - although its other areas are not affected

Southern Water will bring a ban for nearly a million of its customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from this Friday. Its service map is pictured – although its other areas are not affected

Parliament Square in London continues to look dried out today, following a long period of hot weather and little rainfall

Parliament Square in London continues to look dried out today, following a long period of hot weather and little rainfall

South East Water said in an announcement today: ‘The use of a hosepipe or sprinkler will be restricted from Friday, August 12 for our customers in Kent and Sussex.

UK to see ‘fresher’ days before more heat at the weekend – but little rain

The UK can expect cooler and ‘fresher’ days for the rest of the week before high temperatures return into the weekend, according to forecasters. 

Temperatures today are expected to be in the high 20Cs across the South East of England, with other parts of England and Wales seeing low-to-mid 20Cs and high teens or low 20Cs in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Tomorrow and Friday will bring temperatures in the low 20Cs to areas of England while northern parts of the UK are likely to see 18C to 20C. 

But they will again climb to the mid-to-high 20Cs in the South East of England on Saturday and Sunday and low 20Cs in northern areas.

Met Office meteorologist Craig Snell said: ‘As we go into Thursday and then towards the weekend, high pressure – which has made itself at home across the UK this summer – is re-establishing itself as we go through to the end of the week and into the weekend.

‘A lot of the UK will probably see a dry weekend with the best of the sunshine in the South. After potentially a couple of fresher days, Thursday and Friday, temperatures kind of climb once again as we go into the weekend.’

Yesterday’s rainfall in the north Midlands and northern England is set to move to southern parts of the Midlands, into central and southern England and East Anglia today, but is expected to become lighter.

Mr Snell added: ‘No real major signs of anything wet coming through for the South and generally the kind of warm theme is continuing for a lot of the country after a very brief cooler spell on Thursday and Friday.’

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‘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 percent of average rainfall for the month, and the long term forecast for August and September is for similar weather.

‘The demand for water this summer has broken all previous records, including the Covid lockdown heatwave.

‘We have been producing an additional 120 million litres 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.

‘We have been left with no choice but to restrict the use of hosepipes and sprinklers from 0.01am on Friday, August 12 within our Kent and Sussex supply area until further notice.

‘We are taking this step to ensure we have enough water for both essential use and to protect the environment. 

‘This will enable us to also reduce the amount of water we need to take from already stressed local water sources.’

Lee Dance, South East Water’s head of water resources, had also said last week: ‘Clearly, we are in a very dry and warm period and the forecast is that this may continue for a number of weeks.’

Mr Dance added: ‘We have been looking very closely at the current situation and assessing the likelihood of restrictions and other measures.

‘If our assessment reveals voluntary reduction of water use will not allow us to maintain supplies of water for essential use or to protect the environment, then we may need to impose more formal bans.’

The most prominent water company that has hinted it could also bring in a hosepipe ban this summer is Thames Water.

The firm said in a statement last week: ‘If we do not receive around or above average rainfall in the coming months, this will increase pressure on our resources and may, indeed, result in the need for more water saving measures including restrictions.’

This week, the Met Office said southern England had experienced its driest July since records began in 1836.

Very dry grass at Boughton and Eastwell Cricket Club in Ashford, Kent, pictured last Friday

Very dry grass at Boughton and Eastwell Cricket Club in Ashford, Kent, pictured last Friday

Firefighters dampen down dry grass that caught alight at Barton's Point Coastal Park on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent last month

Firefighters dampen down dry grass that caught alight at Barton’s Point Coastal Park on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent last month

Southern Water - which announced a ban last week - had previously warned customers over filling up their paddling pools

Southern Water – which announced a ban last week – had previously warned customers over filling up their paddling pools

This map from Ofwat shows which water company supplies each area of England and Wales. Key - Water and wastewater companies: ANH Anglian Water / WSH Dŵr Cymru / HDD Hafren Dyfrdwy / NES Northumbrian Water / SVE Severn Trent Water / SWB South West Water / SRN Southern Water / TMS Thames Water / UUW United Utilities Water / WSX Wessex Water / YKY Yorkshire Water // Key - Water only companies: AFW Affinity Water / BRL Bristol Water / PRT Portsmouth Water / SEW South East Water / SSC South Staffs Water / SES SES Water

This map from Ofwat shows which water company supplies each area of England and Wales. Key – Water and wastewater companies: ANH Anglian Water / WSH Dŵr Cymru / HDD Hafren Dyfrdwy / NES Northumbrian Water / SVE Severn Trent Water / SWB South West Water / SRN Southern Water / TMS Thames Water / UUW United Utilities Water / WSX Wessex Water / YKY Yorkshire Water // Key – Water only companies: AFW Affinity Water / BRL Bristol Water / PRT Portsmouth Water / SEW South East Water / SSC South Staffs Water / SES SES Water

South-East and central southern England saw an average of just 5mm (0.2ins) of rain last month, while East Anglia had only a fraction more with 5.4mm (0.21ins).

Most of England – with the exception of the North-West – has moved into a state of ‘prolonged dry weather’.

This is described by the Environment Agency as ‘the first stage of a drought’, raising the spectre of restrictions such as hosepipe bans.

The Isle of Man also announced a hosepipe ban last week, while Welsh Water has said it may have to bring in a similar restriction in Pembrokeshire.

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