Hoespipe ban begins

·drawing water for domestic recreational use

·filling a domestic pond or ornamental fountain

·cleaning walls or windows of domestic premises

·cleaning paths or patios or other artificial outdoor surfaces

Veolia Water Southeast Head of Operations Gavin McHale said the hosepipe ban was an essential first move to conserve scarce water resources and that further restrictions could follow if the drought continued.

He said: "We take all our water from chalk and gravel aquifers and these natural sources have simply not been refilled by autumn, winter and spring rain. They are now well below average levels and we have to carefully manage the water we have to see us through the summer months."

Gavin McHale stressed that there was no likelihood of standpipes being needed but urged customers to do all they can to save water.

He added: "The hosepipe ban is an important step as hosepipes typically use 160 litres of water in just ten minutes. We are also urging our customers to be careful with their use of water overall and to try to save as much as possible whether it's in the home or garden.

"We are ensuring that our company continues to meet or better the leakage target set by our regulator Ofwat and we are investing £34.5m in new plant and pipelines in the five years to 2015. We want to work closely with our customers to ensure a secure water supply in drought conditions and will be promoting water saving throughout the summer."

Veolia Water Southeast last imposed a hosepipe ban in 2006.To bring in further restrictions an application must be made to Defra.

For more details on Veolia Water Southeast and for water saving tips see www.veoliawater.co.uk/southeast or ring the customer helpline 0845 888 5 888.

For further press information, please contact Philip Bosley, PHB Public Relations, on 01580 852500

Notes to editors:

1.Veolia Water Southeast supplies 44 million litres of water each day in South and East Kent to a population of more than 158,000 people.

2. Water Saving Tips

In the home:

·Have a shower instead of a bath. 35 litres for a 10 minute shower against80 litres for a bath

·Promptly fix leaks and repair dripping taps

·Use a water-saving cistern option.Save 2 litres with every flush.

·Put full loads only in washing machines and dishwashers

·Make sure you buy appliances that use less water

·Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Save 6 litres a time.

Outside:

·Use a butt to collect rainwater for use in the garden

·Choose drought tolerant plants

·Let your lawn grow, it will stay greener longer