A British company that supplies water to around 10 million people a day in the London area has announced a “temporary use ban” starting next week in order to “ensure the taps keep running for customers’ essential use.”
Thames Water says the restrictions that go into effect on Aug. 24 come as “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.”
“Domestic customers should not use [hoses] for cleaning cars, watering gardens or allotments, filling paddling pools and swimming pools and cleaning windows,” the utility said in a statement.
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“Thames Water’s robust drought plan is designed to mitigate the risk of further impact to water resources and ensure the taps keep running for customers’ essential use,” it added, noting that it is also working on fixing more than 1,100 leaks on its 20,000-mile network every week.
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The company said the “recent heatwave and extreme temperatures have resulted in the highest demand for over 25 years with the company supplying 2.9 billion liters of water a day [766 million gallons] to customers across the region,” and in “some areas during the particularly hot weather, demand for water rose by 50% compared to the norm for the time of year.”
A record-breaking heat wave in Europe in July raised temperatures in areas like London’s Heathrow Airport to more than 100 degrees.
“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, Thames Water CEO, said in a statement. “Reducing demand means reducing the amount of water we have to take from the environment at a time when it is under pressure.”