Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Raining and Snowing ... but We Need a Hosepipe Ban

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Raining and Snowing ... but We Need a Hosepipe Ban

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN PRYNN

WATER companies today came under renewed pressure to impose hosepipe bans as early as April to avoid standpipes in the street this summer.

Despite the rain and snow hitting London, two government agencies said restrictions are needed to conserve water supplies and protect the environment.

Dr Terry Marsh of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology said bans would be "an appropriate response" to the worst drought in parts of the South-East for 70 years.

The Environment Agency is set to add its own demand tomorrow, saying water shortages as severe as those in 1976 are a possibility unless the companies act soon. Flows in the Medway, Ouse and Stour rivers are at record lows after 15 months of scant rainfall in the region. The Environment Agency said spawning has been affected and fish will start dying when warmer weather arrives.

Dr Mike Moorcroft, an ecologist at the CEH, said trees and grasses are also likely to die if a dry spring and summer follow two successive dry winters, with birch and beech trees particularly vulnerable. He warned that salmon stocks could be hit as juvenile fish are forced out of lowflowing tributaries into the larger rivers where they are more vulnerable to predators. …

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