Thames Water have announced the need to impose water-use restrictions from April 5th to combat the effects of an increasingly severe drought after two abnormally dry winters in a row.
The decision comes after one of the driest two-year periods in southern and eastern England since records began. Since March 2010 the region has had 35cm less rain than normal.
With groundwater levels across parts of the Thames Water region close to the lowest levels ever recorded, many tributaries of the River Thames are running desperately low. Thames Water has been running a publicity campaign since the middle of last year urging its customers to continue to voluntarily use less water, offering households free devices such as water-saving showerheads, tap-inserts and four-minute shower timers.
You can order these free devices here
The temporary use ban states out that hosepipes cannot be used for gardening, recreational uses (such as filling swimming or paddling pools) or cleaning purposes except where specific exemptions apply.
Under the terms of the ban, customers can still water their gardens and clean their cars provided they use either a watering can or a bucket, not a hose. Some of the restrictions are clearly specified as applying to domestic uses of water.
Advertisements have been placed across London, such as the one above, and the one below.
More information can be found here
Temporary Use Bans (TUBs) are imposed by a water supplier under Section 76 of the Water Industry Act 1991. This legislation was amended recently to increase the scope of restrictions that can be controlled by water companies.