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Water Restrictions Imposed On London As Drought Fears Worsen

File Image: The Tower Bridge over the Thames in London. Photo credit: Visit London.
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Mar 14, 2006
Britain's biggest water company said on Monday it was slapping water restrictions on the London area for the first time in 15 years amid some of the worst shortages in a century.

Some eight million people living in and around the British capital will be banned from using hosepipes, sprinklers and washing their cars from April 3 following a prolonged spell of below-average rainfall in the south east.

Jeremy Pelczer, chief executive of Thames Water, said: "We are reluctant to restrict the amount of water our customers use but the situation is serious.

"The drought across the south east has now gone on for so long that we have to be prudent and introduce measures that will make best use of limited supplies and help protect the environment.

"If we see little rain, coupled with high demand, then we may have to go further and restrict a wider range of non-essential uses of water."

Thames Water said the region it manages receives less rainfall per person than Dallas in Texas, Rome or Istanbul.

The company is spending one billion pounds (1.45 billion euros, 1.73 billion dollars) replacing old pipes, which are estimated to leak around a third of the water travelling from reservoirs to homes.

Southeastern England has been hit hard because of its high population density, relatively low number of reservoirs and a heavy reliance on groundwater supplies.

Last year was the area's third driest since records began in 1897.

The Greater London Authority is planning an advertising campaign to encourage people not to wash their cars or leave the tap running while brushing their teeth, and to take showers rather than baths.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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