Comet country faces worst drought in 100 years

PUBLISHED: 10:49 28 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:42 06 May 2010

Comet country faces hosepipe bans this summer.

Comet country faces hosepipe bans this summer.

COMET country may be hit this summer by one of the most serious droughts in the last 100 years. At worse, water supplies to homes could be cut off on a rota basis and standpipes could appear in the streets, warn the Environment Agency. In a bid to prevent

COMET country may be hit this summer by one of the most serious droughts in the last 100 years.

At worse, water supplies to homes could be cut off on a rota basis and standpipes could appear in the streets, warn the Environment Agency.

In a bid to prevent the nightmare scenario becoming reality, it is urging water companies to impose hosepipe bans this month.

Local supplier Three Valleys Water has avoided the use of a ban since 1992.

"But with 15 months of below average rainfall behind us, it looks increasingly likely that this may be one of a range of measures that will need to be considered to ensure that there is enough water for all customers this summer," said a company spokesman.

"The prospect remains for a severe drought. We are already seeing a number of low flows in local rivers and to help this situation we are appealing to our customers to work with us to reduce water consumption by using water wisely.

"Simple things such as using the washing machine on full load, turning the tap off when you clean your teeth and taking a short shower instead of a bath will make a difference."

Environment Agency chief executive Barbara Young said the drought in the South East had started in November 2004.

"We're in a serious situation now, where both the environment and our water supplies are at risk.

"There is still time for rain this winter and spring to reduce the risk of drought, but water companies shouldn't just hope for rain - they must act now in case the weather stays dry.

"Groundwater levels in some areas are the lowest on record and rainfall during winter has been the lowest since the drought of 1920-22.

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