Millions face hosepipe ban unless rain keeps falling

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Millions of Brits face hosepipe bans within weeks unless the rest of June sees permanent downpours.

Severn Trent, which supplies eight million customers in Central England and Wales, has warned there's an 'increasing likelihood' of water restrictions in the near future unless Britain sees persistent rain in the next month.

The warning comes as the Environment Agency is expected to declare official drought status for parts of the UK over the next two days.

According to the Daily Mail, the company said: 'There is an increasing likelihood of water restrictions in some parts of the region, unless we see a return to seasonal average rainfall within the near future.

'The situation is under constant review and no decision has been taken.

'Our first priority is always to maintain continuity of water supply to our customers and we will open up a dialogue with them and our stakeholders before any restrictions are proposed.'

The last drought was declared last year in the North West.

East Anglia is most at risk of drought status after having its driest spring in more than a century with just 28.1 mm of rain - or a fifth of the long term average. Farmers are struggling with parched soils and cracked earth.

Despite the rain of the last week - and the deluges in the North West over the last month - rivers and reservoirs across southern and central England remain low for the time of year, particularly in the Midlands and the South.

Hosepipe bans are most likely in Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire, and could be introduced in just two week's time.

Environment Agency experts are meeting today (THR) to review the water shortages in four regions, East Anglia, the Midlands, the South West and Wales.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: 'All these four areas are very dry, particularly East Anglia, but the decision to move to an official drought status hasn't been taken yet.

'There is no one trigger but it is a combination of lack of rainfall, the forecast, river flower, the ground water models and any predicted effects on wildlife such as fish having to be moved.'

Although parts of the South East have suffered dry conditions, the risk of drought remains low, while the north of England is also not at risk after a wet May.

The Environment Agency says a repeat of the 1976 drought is unlikely, but the Met Office says there is little sign of relief in the next few months.

Spokesman Barry Gromett said: 'There will be some showers this week, and rain on Sunday, but there is no sign of any prolonged persistent rain in the next 30 days.'

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