Hampshire drought permits

Why we're applying for a drought permit for south Hampshire

In June 2019, we warned that flows in the River Test were falling.

As we explained, because of new rules governing when we can take water out of the river to supply customers, there was an increased risk of drought this summer.

Around the middle of July 2019, flows dropped to the point where we forecast that a drought permit may be needed to continue using the river – which is a vital source of fresh water for south Hampshire.

So we're applying to our regulator the Environment Agency for a drought permit that will permit us to continue using the river if flows go on dropping as forecast.

Using a drought permit means that we must do everything in our power to reduce water use and so minimise the impact on the river’s precious and unique habitat.

What we're doing

For our part, we have been deploying extra teams and technology to tackle leaks. In Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, we’re now wasting 5 million fewer litres a day than in February as a result.

We’ve also been helping our customers to become more water efficient by using simple devices in the home or garden such as water butts.

We’ve also been importing water from neighbouring companies under bulk supply agreements to bolster resources and reduce the amount we need to take from the river.

What we can all do

But if the drought permit is granted we will be asking more of our customers by imposing TUBs (Temporary Use Bans previously known as hosepipe bans) in certain areas.

If we do have to do this, it will be carried out in a phased way in specific areas which depend on the River Test for water and we’ll provide full details in advance.

We understand this is disruptive and inconvenient but we’ve also seen our customers feedback that protecting the environment and the River Test is a priority for them too. We will continue to keep our customers updated on the progress of our permit application.

Follow the links to find out more about:

Protecting Hampshire's rivers   
Drought - water restrictions checker  
How to save water