Prolonged dry weather this week prompted United Utilities to impose a hosepipe ban after previously requesting a drought permit to protect water supplies.
The water company said the ban will come into force on Friday 9 July at 6am. It is the first hosepipe ban in the North West for 14 years.
The ban will apply to all customers in the North West, with the exception of customers in Carlisle, Allerdale, Copeland and the north Eden Valley, where United Utilities said supplies are at reasonable levels.
It has also requested a permit from the Environment Agency to continue taking water from Ennerdale Water in Cumbria in excess of the usual allowed limits.
“A hosepipe can use as much water in an hour as a family of four would use in one day.”
John Sanders, United Utilities
“It is not a decision we have taken lightly, but a hosepipe can use as much water in an hour as a family of four would use in one day,” said the firm’s water regulation and strategy manager John Sanders.
Other water companies are also reviewing their positions following the recent dry spell.
Scottish Water said it was “actively progressing” preparations for a drought order from the government to allow it to take water from other sources to supplement two reservoirs which are only two thirds full.
Reservoir levels are “below normal for this time of year”, said the firm. Yorkshire Water was cautious about the effects of the weather on its supplies. Its reservoirs are comparatively low at 69% of their full capacity but a spokesman said the situation was “OK for the moment”.
But many of the other major water companies reported good levels in reservoirs and aquifers, and said they did not expect to impose hosepipe bans.
Southern Water said its reservoirs were close to 100% full, with levels higher than this time last year. Thames Water said its reservoirs were “currently full”, and Portsmouth Water said its aquifer level was 3m above the long term average. Welsh Water said its reservoirs were on average 72% full, but a spokesman said this was “satisfactory” and did not pose a threat to water supplies.
“We haven’t had a hosepipe ban for 20 years and want to keep it that way,” they said.