UPDATE: Uttlesford to be hit by hosepipe ban - water saving tips

A HOSEPIPE ban is to be put in place across Uttlesford from April amid fears of a prolonged drought – and anyone found breaching it could face a fine of up to �1,000.

Veolia Water is one of seven water companies in the south and east of England that will enforce a ban on domestic customers following the driest 18-month period in the region in more than a century.

It will come into effect from April 5 – the first time residents in the district have been hit by a hosepipe ban since 2006.

Mike Pocock, Veolia Water’s resources manager, said: “Asking our customers to restrict their water use this summer is a tough call, but the situation is showing no sign of improving and we must act now to ensure that everyone is prepared.

“By putting restrictions in place we aim to emphasise the situation and appeal to our customers to work with us to reduce their water use. If we all make small changes to reduce our water use it can make a big difference.”

The Environment Agency announced in a report published on Monday that East Anglia and the south-east of England were officially in drought.

It warned that drought conditions were expected to spread across other parts of England in the coming weeks, unless heavy rain followed soon, and that a severe drought was anticipated this spring and summer.

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Fears have also been raised that the effect on agriculture could lead to an increase in the price of potatoes and other vegetables.

It has prompted the National Farmers Union to ask for restrictions on agricultural water use to be avoided wherever possible because of the impact it could have on arable and livestock farming.

Howard Davidson, the Environment Agency’s south-east regional director, said: “Using water efficiently will help to ensure we all have enough for our homes, to produce food, products and services, and to protect our natural environment and wildlife.”

The ban will prevent the domestic use of hosepipes for things like gardening, washing cars, windows and patios, running sprinklers, and filling paddling pools or ponds. Residents can still use a watering can to water their gardens and a bucket to clean their cars.

Tips to save water

- Turn off taps while you brush your teeth

- Take a short shower instead of a bath

- Fit a water butt in your garden to harvest rainwater

- Fix dripping taps

- Use washing machines and dishwashers when you have full loads

- Install a water saving device in your toilet

? Veolia Water is also offering its customers free water saving devices. Visit www.veoliawater.co.uk/savewater