Hosepipe ban warning as UK set for driest May in 124 YEARS-areas see less rain than SAHARA

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Scorching temperatures have graced the UK this month, with Britons flocking to beaches and parks to soak up the sun now lockdown conditions have relaxed slightly. While many are revelling in the hot weather, the lack of rain in May could have knock-on effects later in the year.

Britain’s driest place – Boulmer, Northumberland – saw just 15mm of rainfall since mid-March according to the latest Met Office data.

In May so far, much of the South-East has had less than two millimetres of rain this and some parts of the UK drier than the Sahara Desert.

Laghouat, a camel oasis in the Algerian Sahara, on average sees 36mm of rain between the middle of March and late May.

Met Office forecaster Nicola Maxey told The Sun of May’s weather: “Chances are we are going to see the all-time record broken – making this month England’s driest May since 1896.”

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Hosepipe ban warning: Hot weather has led to fears of a hosepipe ban (Image: GETTY/ WXCHARTS)

For the UK, data shows 31.5mm of rain has fallen so far, with the 1896 record being 19.1mm.

Water provider United Utilities weeks away from its reservoirs falling to levels which triggered the 2018 hosepipe ban for seven million customers in north-west England. Its reservoirs in West Cumbria are just 45 percent full.

The firm said: “We encourage people to save water, especially as coronavirus is seeing more home water use.”

Affinity Water in the South of England sent a text message to customers on Friday asking them to only use what they need.

Affinity Water supplies Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey, the London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon and parts of the London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Enfield.

The message read: “With hot weather and more people at home, demand for water has significantly increased, so you may experience lower pressure than usual.

“Let’s work together and only use what we need so pressures can return to normal.”

As well as linking to its website for tips on saving water at home, Affinity also added: “Remember to keep hydrated during the warm weather and continue to follow Government guidelines on handwashing to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

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Tips for saving water from Affinity include:

  • Shorten your shower – showers use between five to 15 litres per minute depending on your shower. Aim for a four-minute shower.
  • Don’t overfill the bath – a full bath uses around 80 litres of water why not see if you can even reduce this by an inch
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, and save over 6,500 litres of water a year and encourage others in your household to do the same
  • Save water and electricity by only boiling enough water for your immediate use
  • Use a bowl to wash dishes or vegetables
  • Fix dripping taps. You could save over 5,500 litres of water a year.
  • Hang up your hose – this uses as much water in an hour as the average family of four uses in a day and a half. Or use a trigger hose so you can control when water is released.
  • Water your plants using a watering can, either early in the morning or during the evening when it is cooler and there is less chance of water evaporating
  • A water butt is a great way to collect rainwater, you can use it to water your garden or wash the car
  • Wash your car with a bucket and sponge, which uses much less water than a hosepipe.

Temperatures are on the increase this week – with the Met Office forecasting heatwave thresholds will be exceeded in some parts of the UK.

On Wednesday, the mercury is again forecast to soar to the high 20C, with the South of England to see 27C, before the hot weather heads northwards.

The Met Office tweeted on Tuesday: “Over the next few days, it looks set to be very warm in many places.

“Today and tomorrow the highest temperatures will be in the South East, but as the week goes on the peak of the warmth will transfer north and west #StayHomeSaveLives # StayAlert”.

While Britons are allowed to attend parks and beaches – social distancing guidelines must be upheld out of doors.

This means keeping a two-metre distance between any other household where possible.

Bookmaker Coral is now odds-on at 1/2 for there to be a hosepipe ban in the UK this year.

The firm is offering 4/9 this summer is the hottest since records began in the UK, while next month is 5/4 (from 6/4) to be the hottest June ever.

Coral spokesman John Hill said: “With a prolonged dry spell on the way, it would be no surprise if a hosepipe ban was enforced for many parts of the UK this summer.

“There is a strong chance we could be set for a record-breaking hot summer, and it may well come early, as the odds on a record warm June have also been slashed.”

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