London businesses next to face water restrictions amid drought

Published Thu, Aug 11, 2022 · 05:35 PM

BusinessES in London may face restrictions on water supply if the dry weather desiccating the south-east of England persists. 

“We don’t know when the drought is going to end,” said Cathryn Ross, strategy and regulatory affairs director at Thames Water Utilities. The utility’s current plan is not to go beyond the hosepipe ban for residential consumers, but “with a heavy heart” the possibility of further restrictions on water usage for industrial supplies is on the cards if the drought continues.  

Earlier this week, the largest water provider in the UK told Londoners to prepare for a hosepipe ban as the city faces another heat wave. Ross said that will happen in a couple of weeks. Europe’s increasingly frequent bouts of hot weather are a stark reminder of the consequences of the unfolding climate crisis, with temperature extremes set to become more common as the world continues to burn fossil fuels.

Temperatures in London are set to hit 32.5 deg C on Thursday (Aug 11) and rise further in the following days, said forecaster Maxar Technologies. The UK Met Office warned of extreme heat across parts of England and Wales from Thursday till the weekend, while the country’s Health Security Agency extended a heat-health alert for all regions until Sunday. 

The scorching heat in the UK last month sparked fires in and around the capital, warped runways at airports and triggered warnings that railway lines could buckle. England has recorded the driest July in almost 90 years. 

Outside the capital, residents of Kent and Sussex have also been told to prepare for a hosepipe ban, while Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are already subject to restrictions, which include the use of hoses for watering gardens, cleaning cars and filling swimming pools. 

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Water companies have also been widely criticised over the amount of leaks in the system. Early on Monday morning a 36-inch (91 cm) pipe burst in north London, flooding streets and holding up traffic while leaving thousands of homes without water. Thames Water sealed the leak by the late morning. 

“We are asking our customers to use water wisely,” Ross said. But “we do need to do our bit and get on top of the leaks, that’s why we got teams dedicated to doing exactly that,” she said. Bloomberg

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