Although there are no current bans on the use of hosepipes and sprinklers, seven water companies in London and the South East are set to impose a hosepipe ban in the next few weeks.
Southern Water, South East Water, Thames Water, Anglian Water, Sutton and East Surrey, Veolia Central and Veolia South East are all due to impose the water restrictions on 5th April says the Guardian, with the Mail reporting that Portsmouth Water may also be on the verge of doing so.
This could affect as many as 20 million people.
Whilst most people think that it affects their lives by making it harder to clean the car or keeping the lawn nice and green and the flowers from wilting there are other repercussions that they may not have thought of.
The roads for example. Most people are aware that a harsh winter of ice breaking up the tarmac causes potholes, but did you know that a lack of moisture in the underlying earth could cause cracks in roads so endangering motorcyclists (www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-drought-causes-problems-for-motorcyclists-warns-swinton-2012-03-12)?
In some areas grass growth has been affected, which has had a knock on effect to farmers who have had to feed livestock with winter feed with the further effect of increasing grass seed and forage prices. Not to mention the threat to water supplies to service that livestock.
Then there is the matter of how to dissuade people from using too much water, apart from fining people for breaking hosepipe bans that is. One idea is to charge people a water tariff that increases the more water you use. The ultimate of course is to switch off supplies to houses and erect stand-pipes.
But one thing you can be assured of, it will not matter if you use less water, the overall cost to consumers has to stay the same in order service the infrastructure, investment, employees and of course the shareholders.
And of course we do live in a capitalist society, where supply and demand dictate the cost. So, what do you bet will happen to the price of bottled water imported into the South East of England over the next few months?
And then how much of a mark-up will the retailers be putting on top of that do you reckon? Anyone living in a built up area had better put a tidy sum aside. And don't expect that water fountain at work to always be full.
Maybe we need some emergency legislation to prevent water profiteering.
Ah well, there's always beer and wine I suppose.
There will however be one time and place where water will be free and plentiful for the right people in the South East this summer – the London Olympics.