Hosepipe ban threat as drought declared in Bristol
DESPITE the rain forecast for this weekend Bristol is officially in a drought after months of exceptionally low rainfall – and there could be water restrictions within months.
Bristol Water is asking its customers to conserve water supplies and be sensible about how much they use.
The company stressed that while there are no immediate plans for restrictions, if the dry weather continues, reservoir levels drop quickly and demand for water is high, it could be forced to bring in hosepipe bans.
The last time Bristol faced a ban was 22 years ago in 1990 because of a dry winter and a breach of the Sharpness Canal in Gloucestershire, which provides much of the water for the city.
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The Environment Agency announced yesterday Bristol and the entire South West region, from South Gloucestershire down to Cornwall and parts of Hampshire and Wiltshire, are now experiencing a drought.
While public water supplies are not currently affected, the lack of rain is taking its toll on the environment, causing problems for wildlife and wetlands.
Paul Kelson, from Bristol Water, said the company had begun an advertising campaign to encourage people to use water responsibly, including using water butts to collect water for gardens and water-saving kits for the home.
Mr Kelson said: "We have no immediate plans for restrictions, but if it gets warmer and demand for water soars, we would have to be very realistic.
"There is no immediate threat, but unless we keep demand down and we get more rainfall over the next couple of months, we can never rule out restrictions.
"Our reservoirs are considerably lower than they were this time last year and we have to manage demand and save the water that we might need later. We still have plenty of water but it is about being sensible with the use. The message is that people should save water now because they will need it later on.
"Nothing is being cut off, but there isn't an unlimited amount of water."