Hosepipe ban ‘in weeks’ as second heat health warning issued

Five more days of 30-degrees-plus temperatures, and with no sign of rain any time soon has seen Thames Water follow other companies in issuing drought notifications

Mercury rising: on the hot tarmac outside Croydon’s Fairfield Halls, the temperature topped 40 degrees last month

The summer-long drought and another heatwave with temperatures over 30 degrees for several days has prompted the authorities to issue a second set of health warnings just weeks after the previous one.

And Thames Water, the suppliers for most of the borough and the capital, are to follow the lead of other water companies in south-east England and impose a hosepipe ban “within weeks”.

The Met Office last night issued an amber warning for extreme heat covering four days from Thursday to Sunday for parts of England and Wales.

The warning comes as the forecaster predicted 35C in places – below last month’s record temperatures, which peaked above 40C in some spots.

The vulnerable are still likely to experience adverse health affects, while the wider population could also be affected, the alert said.

Delays to travel are possible and there is an increased risk of water accidents and fires as more people visit coasts and beauty spots, the Met Office warned.

The UK Health Security Agency had already issued an amber alert covering southern and central England from noon today until 6pm on Saturday.

And the impact of the long period without rain – July 2022 was officially the driest on record, with some places recording no rain at all for the whole month – has seen Thames Water today warn that it will implement measures to reduce water use.

“Given the long-term forecast of dry weather and another forecast of very hot temperatures coming this week, we are planning to announce a temporary use ban in the coming weeks,” said the company, which has 15million customers across London and southern England.

It urged customers to “only use what they need for their essential use”.

Hosepipe bans have already been imposed by Southern Water in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, there’s been a hosepipe ban on the Isle of Man for a month, and Kent and Sussex is to get a hosepipe ban by South East Water from August 12.

South London’s Serengeti: parks and open spaces, after six or seven weeks without any real rain, are vulnerable to grass fires

Meanwhile, the London Fire Brigade has repeated its public appeal for people to exercise great care when using parched public parks and open spaces, urging extra care when disposing of glass bottles (which can act as a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays and spark a fire), cigarettes and matches, and to avoid altogether using portable barbeque equipment.

Today, Croydon Council published a set of advice for residents to better cope with the rising temperatures.

“It’s important to protect yourself and others in periods of hot weather,” they said.

“Heat and prolonged exposure to the sun can pose health risks for some people, especially those with underlying health conditions.”

They offered these advice points:

  • If you are going outside or travelling, try to avoid the peak hours of the day where UV rays are strongest. This is usually between 11am and 4pm.
  • Apply sunscreen and keep to shady areas where possible. Drink lots of fluids and take water with you. Wear loose clothing, a hat, and UV-protective sunglasses.
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, such as sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day, for example, in the early morning or evening.
  • Temperatures inside can be higher than temperatures outdoors, so it’s best to close curtains or blinds on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler.
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children, vulnerable adults, or animals.
  • Keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk this summer. If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support.

And the council’s health advisors say this, “If you feel dizzy, weak or have intense thirst and a headache, move to a cool place as soon as possible. Drink some water or diluted fruit juice to rehydrate. Avoid excess alcohol.

“If you have painful muscular spasms (particularly in the legs, arms, or abdomen), rest immediately in a cool place and drink electrolyte drinks.

“Most people should start to recover within 30 minutes and if not, you should seek medical help. Call 111 if you feel unusual symptoms, or if symptoms persist. Call 999 if a person develops any signs of heatstroke as this is a medical emergency.”

Read more: Croydon among areas worst hit by deadly climate change
Read more: Hotter than Cairo – but 100 Croydon residents left without water

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to Hosepipe ban ‘in weeks’ as second heat health warning issued

  1. Chris Flynn says:

    Nothing from SES yet. So the green leafy south (Purley, Coulsdon) can use hosepipes to their hearts content, but not those in the north of the borough. Croydon is a town of two halves!

  2. Lewis White says:

    The problem (sorry, one of them) with the privatisation of the water industry is that it marches to the drum of owners and shareholders, not the needs of the public, climate change, and the need for long-term (and short term) water planning, sewage and storm water tretament, nor — the key thing- capturing rainwater so that it never reaches the street. The fact is that they are all examples of governmental failure over decades since privatisation.

    In fact , the whole planning system needs to be re-oriented to conserve our God-given natural resources, woodland, marshland, ponds, rivers and streams and seas, both in Town and in Country, and along the Coast.

    I was riding on the top deck of the no 60 earler this week, through Coulsdon, Purley and South Croydon. Few things beat the sense of well-being experienced by the front-seat, top deck passenger when viewing the panorama from a London Transport scarlet-painted double decker omnibus (ideally hydrogen powered).

    As the bus went through patches of cool shade, as it passed by mature trees, I saw with renewed eyes the importance of roadside trees for shade–something we rarely thought about in the past in this country.

    I experienced and admired the beauty of the avenue of London Plane trees that some far-sighted Victorian, perhaps a Borough Engineer and Surveyor of Croydon, had decided and planted down the footways of the Brighton Road all the way from the Purley Oaks depot (by the ex Royal Oak pub site) all the way to the ex Red Deer pub just short of the bus garage. Maybe half a mile of glorious green trees, which are well-maintained by the council tree team in the traditional pollarding manner. The trees looked lustrous, healthy, and incredibly fresh, in spite of months of no rain.

    I imagined the scene –and the intense heat– without the trees. It would be hellishly hot and dusty for residents and road users alike. And barren too.

    On the way home, on a very long section of the Brighton Road from Purley to Coulsdon, there are sadly no street trees at all. Thank goodness, there are quite a few mature trees in front gardens, which provide much needed shade and cooling, but I realised that as more and more gardens get paved over, these very trees are gradually being removed.

    I really think that the answer here is to pay the property owners a sum of £100- 200 per year– deoending on the size of tree- as a reduction on their council tax- as a recognition of the importance of their trees to keeping out street environment green and cool, with less dust and fewer airborne pollutants. Key trees should also be protected by a new form of tree preservation order. Again, our planning system has been creaking along for many years when it comes to tree protection. We need a thoughtful and practical, action-oriented Environmental Planning system, whereby all the streets in every borough of the UK are looked at systematically to assess scope for encouraging retention and planting of trees by frontagers, and for new and replacement trees by the councils.

    Plus tree screens in car parks to stop overheating of cars and also the air around, as a result of all that tarmac. Heat islands are growing worldwide, like the plastic rubbish islands of the oceans, at the same time as real islands inhabitated by real people are getting eaten away and drowned as the ice caps melt, and sea levels rise.

    I really hope that politicians of all parties come together to act on all of these issues. They need a vision that starts now and extends to 100 years. Not a 5 year election game of pass-the party-in-power parcel.

  3. Andy P says:

    All very well issuing a hose pipe ban in London, but don’t forget after the long hot summer of drought in 1976, billions were spent on renewing the old Victorian pipework that had served the capital for so long, and still goes on today. And not forgetting that there was a desalination plant built on the Thames to alleviate a water shortage to London should another drought situation occur, but guess what it’s switched off! Why, the official reason is it’s under maintenance, WHAT! in the middle of summer and in a drought situation? Such a tasks should have been done in the winter, when there aren’t any drought alerts. That’s Thames water and their management for you.

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