Drought officially declared for Kent

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‘TINDER DRY’ Tunbridge Wells Common needs water like many areas of the city

Tunbridge Wells, along with the rest of Kent, is now officially suffering from a ‘drought’.

Official drought status was announced for Kent along with seven other parts of the UK on Friday August 12, following what officials said was the driest summer for 50 years.

The National Drought Group, made up of representatives from various government departments, environmental agencies, interest groups such as the National Farmers Union and the water industry, announced on Friday that eight of 14 areas have now moved to the “drought”.

These are Devon and Cornwall, Solent and South Downs, Kent and South London, Herts and North London, East Anglia, Thames, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire and East Midlands.

The status corresponds to the following four stages, the first being “prolonged dry weather”. Stages three and four are “severe drought” and “recovering drought”.

Five water companies, Welsh Water, Southern Water, Thames Water, South East Water and Yorkshire Water have all announced hosepipe bans so far.

Garden hose ban begins as water levels drop

Residents of Tunbridge Wells, along with most of Kent and East Sussex face £1,000 fines for using garden hoses from Friday as South East Water enforces its first ban since a decade. The water company is the second in the UK to introduce a temporary use ban (TUB), after Southern Water introduced a similar ban in parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight which came into effect on last week.

Enforcement

Violators face fines of up to £1,000 if brought to justice, although water companies say they prefer ‘education to enforcement’. South East Water said it had “no choice but to restrict the use of garden hoses and sprinklers” from midnight August 12 “until further notice”. The company added that it was taking steps “to ensure we have enough water for essential uses and to protect the environment” as well as to help “already stretched local water sources”. It comes after water levels in the southeast reservoirs dropped more than 50% from normal levels.

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