County facing hosepipe ban after long, dry spell

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A WATER company says it may have to impose a hosepipe ban after months of low rainfall.

Severn Trent, which supplies Oakham and Uppingham, as well as villages including Manton, Wing and up to Tickencote, has warned the ban may have to be used to protect water sources. No decision has been made on when or where a ban would be imposed but the situation is under constant review.

The Coventry-based utility company says there is pressure on its water supplies, which include reservoirs and aquifers, due to the long dry spell and increased demand.

But while Severn Trent supplies are under pressure, the company which owns Rutland Water, Anglian Water, is reporting a healthier picture.

The reservoir, which can hold one billion litres of water, is 85 per cent full and the company is not looking at imposing water restrictions.

Anglian is not considering a ban. It does supply some water from Rutland Water to Severn Trent, which is allowed to take a maximum of 18m litres a day from the reservoir to supply its customers.

A Severn Trent spokesman said: “Severn Trent confirmes there is an increasing likelihood of water restrictions in some parts of the region, unless we see a return to seasonal average rainfall within the near future.

“The situation is under constant review and no decision has been taken.

“Our first priority is always to maintain continuity of water supply to our customers and we will open up a dialogue with them.”

The Midlands received 50mm of rain in May, 86 per cent of the region’s long-term average. However in April, the region received only 6mm, 12 per cent of the average.

The Environment Agency is expecting to declare some regions to be in drought in the next few days.

Sheep and arable farmer Charlie Scott, of Boundary Farm, Uppingham, would normally be relying on grass to feed his lambs.

But as the lack of rain has stunted the grass growth he is having to use extra feed such as grains to supplement their diets. He has added that the sheep are doing well in the drought.

Mr Scott is also expecting crops planted in the spring, such as barely and wheat, will be hit with lower yields.

He said: “It is definitely one of the driest springs I have seen on my farm.”

Arable and cattle farmer Andrew Nelson, who owns Hambleton Farms, is also seeing an effect. His cattle herd is still grazing on grass but he is also having to supplement their food.

He says meat prices have already gone up and could rise again.

Mr Nelson said: “It is a very serious situation but we are not at crisis yet.”

Landscape architect Rose Dejardin, of Top Street, Wing, does not water her borders in a bid to create stronger plants with longer roots, and also tries to retain moisture in her soil by using a mushroom compost mulch at springtime.

She said: “It is dire to be honest It is very dry. The garden is looking like August rather than June.

“Things which should be standing upright are floppy and the grass is looking yellow.”