South East Water has warned customers in Hampshire, including Basingstoke, that "more formal bans" could be needed to maintain the supply of water.

It comes after Southern Water announced areas of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight would be hit with a hosepipe ban, starting on Friday, August 5.

Southern England, including Hampshire, reported its driest July since records began in 1836, according to the Met Office, with 10.5mm of rain, which is just 17 per cent of its average rainfall.

Southern Water, which handles drinking water and wastewater in parts of the county, says the ban is ‘urgently’ needed to reduce the demand on the River Test and River Itchen – which is where some of the fresh water supply comes from.

While bans have not yet been implemented by other water companies, South East Water has asked customers to voluntarily stop using sprinklers and hosepipes.

READ MORE: Hampshire and Isle of Wight hit with hosepipe ban as drought looms

Lee Dance, South East Water’s head of water resources, said: “Clearly, we are in a very dry and warm period and the forecast is that this may continue for a number of weeks.

“Official figures show this is the driest July on record since 1911 and the period between November 2021 and July 2022 has been the driest eight-month stint since 1975/76.

“All year round we monitor the availability of water and the likely demand, taking account of the weather and other factors. We have been looking very closely at the current situation and assessing the likelihood of restrictions and other measures.

“We have already significantly increased communications across our region to assist in keeping demand within manageable levels. This has included asking customers to voluntarily stop using sprinklers and hosepipes.

“If our assessment reveals voluntary reduction of water use will not allow us to maintain supplies of water for essential use or to protect the environment then we may need to impose more formal bans.”

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