Thames Water has revealed if Oxfordshire will be put under a hosepipe ban, as the dry weather continues.

In recent weeks, millions of people across the country have been issued with hosepipe bans, where households are restricted on using for water for gardening, washing cars and filling paddling pools.

The decision comes as the Met Office revealed July was the driest in England for decades, while some areas have faced their driest summer on record.

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The decision to restrict water usage is made by individual water companies, which are advised by the government and charities as part of the National Drought Group.

Water supplies in Oxfordshire are overseen by Thames Water and the company has warned if the dry weather continues it may “result in the need for more water saving measures including restrictions”.

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “The recent heatwave and extreme heat has resulted in extremely high demand, some of our highest for over 25 years.

“Our teams have been working 24/7, during incredibly hot conditions, to maintain supplies to customers, ensuring the output of our supply systems are running at maximum capacity.

“At times the demand can outstrip our capacity to treat water and hence we have been promoting the need to use water wisely to ensure we can maintain supplies for all.

“Looking ahead to the measures we might need to take if this long spell of unusually dry weather continues, our reservoirs have fallen below average for this time of year.

“This is due to the fact that nine out of the last 11 months have been drier than average with underground aquifers and flows in the rivers, which we rely on for water, also lower than expected for this time of year.

“Over the last three months, our area received only 65 per cent of the average rainfall, with similarly low levels of rainfall over the preceding winter and spring period.

“The Met Office recently confirmed July has been the driest  since 1935, and in south east England this was even more extreme

“We know the water we have stored in our reservoirs will continue to reduce, so if we do not receive around or above average rainfall in the coming months this will increase pressure on our resources and may indeed result in the need for more water saving measures including restrictions.”

The company clarified there is a “statutory drought plan” in place which sets our the actions it would take when it would take them.

“Due to the prolonged stretch of dry weather we implemented the first stage of that plan in May with a media campaign promoting water saving tips to help our customers use water more efficiently. 

“The next stage of the plan would be to introduce a temporary use ban which is likely to include hosepipes. 

“The timing will depend on the amount of water used by our customers, which determines the speed at which reservoir storage declines, and the amount of flow in the rivers, which determines how much water we can take to refill them,” the spokesperson explained.   

They added: “We have no way of knowing how long this very dry weather will last, so we need to plan carefully to make sure we have enough water, not just for the next few months, but throughout next year, even if we have another dry winter. 

“Customers can really help us with this long-term planning by using water wisely – only using what they absolutely need.”


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This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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