Hosepipe bans loom for UK
United Utilities has become the first company in the UK this year to indicate it will need to apply for a hosepipe ban this summer.
The company announced it was going to apply for a drought permit, when its water regulation and strategy manager spoke out on Friday (June 25).
John Sanders said: "After the very wet autumn last year the weather pattern has changed dramatically and since December there has been only half the average amount of rainfall.
"At the start of December, our reservoirs were 96% full, but because of the low rainfall since then, they are now well down for the time of year.
"We have taken early action to move water around the region to even out supplies, and we are also bringing groundwater reserves into use."
There is a legal process to be followed for drought permit applications and there will have to be a consultation before the Environment Agency allows the ban.
The drought permit relates to Ennerdale Water in West Cumbria and, if granted, it will allow the company to continue to take water from the lake as it reaches lower levels.
It will also, according to Mr Sanders, ensure there is no adverse effect on the River Ehen by continuing to release water from the lake into the river.