First drought order comes in

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The Independent Online

The order was issued by Sutton and East Surrey Water and affects 650,000 people. Hosepipes and sprinklers to water gardens, allotments, parks and golf courses are banned, buildings cannot be washed and automatically flushing cisterns are banned when premises are under-occupied. Water fountains will be turned off and the re-filling of private swimming pools is banned.

The government order banning non-essential uses of water comes despite rainfall in the area being up 70 per cent on the May average. Southern Water and Mid Kent Water have also been granted drought orders, but do not plan to use them after heavy spring rains. Some 13 million people across the UK are affected by hosepipe bans.

The Environment Agency urged the companies to enforce the orders immediately because gardens have benefited from the rains but groundwater resources have not improved.