Hosepipe ban announced for large parts of East Sussex

A hosepipe ban is being imposed on households in East Sussex from next Friday (August 12).

South East Water said demand for water had reached ‘record highs’ in July and that it ‘had no choice’ but to restrict usage.

July was the driest in Kent since records began in 1836 and saw the lowest rainfall in Sussex since 1911, the firm said.

South East Water said despite producing an additional 120 million litres of water a day, equivalent to supplying four towns the size of Maidstone or Eastbourne, the demand for water has broken all previous records, including the Covid lockdown heatwave periods.

A hosepipe ban is being imposed on the majority of East Sussex from next week. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

David Hinton, chief executive officer, said: “This has been a time of extreme weather conditions across England with us experiencing the driest start to the year since 1976. During July in the South East, we have only seen eight per cent of average rainfall for the month.

“As the long-term forecast for August and September is for similar weather we are taking this step to introduce temporary restrictions on the use of hosepipes and sprinklers to make sure we have enough water for our customers’ essential use, ensure we can serve our vulnerable customers and to protect the local environment.

“With the lack of rainfall, the environment is also under considerable pressure with our underground water aquifers below average for the time of year across Kent and Sussex and raw water reservoirs also at a lower level for the time of year. By taking this action now we will be able to reduce the amount of water we take from already stressed local water sources.”

The temporary restrictions will mean customers will be prevented from using hosepipes for watering their gardens, washing cars, patios and boats and from filling swimming and paddling pools.

As a consequence of very dry ground conditions and the resulting earth movement, South East Water said it has seen a 50 per cent increase in bursts along its 9,000 miles of mains running deep underground below roads, motorways, railway lines, fields and rivers.

David added: “I would like to thank everyone who has already taken steps to try and reduce their overall water use but despite this, demand still remains very high which is why we have taken this decision to bring in temporary use restrictions.”