River water levels in Hampshire, county on the southern coast of England, have dropped and continue to fall, meaning residents may face the country’s first hosepipe ban since 2012.
Southern Water, private utility company responsible for the public wastewater collection and treatment in Hampshire, has said that it is applying to the Environment Agency for a drought permit that will permit the company to “continue using the river if flows go on dropping as forecast.”
“Using a drought permit means that we must do everything in our power to reduce water use and so minimise the impact on the river’s precious and unique habitat.”
According to The Guardian, rainfall in the south and south-east of England was only three-quarters of the average recorded for winter.
Southern Water warns that if the permit is granted, it will impose hosepipe bans in certain areas. “If we do have to do this, it will be carried out in a phased way in specific areas which depend on the River Test for water and we’ll provide full details in advance.”
The Environment Agency has said it will decide whether to grant the permit by the end of August, reports The Guardian.
In a statement, the English-based utility said it had been deploying extra teams and technology to tackle leaks. “In Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, we’re now wasting 5 million fewer litres a day than in February as a result.”
It added that it has also been importing water from neighbouring companies under bulk supply agreements to bolster resources and reduce the amount of water taken from River Test.
At the end of June, Ofwat, the industry regulator, imposed Southern Water to pay £126 million in penalties and payments to customers following serious failures in the operation of its sewage treatment sites and for deliberately misreporting its performance.