Burley Golf Club in the New Forest has turned entirely brown, apart from just a single patch of green. Golfers were pictured practising on the course, which has been badly impacted by extremely low levels of rainfall. The south of England has experienced the driest July since records began in 1836.
Only 5.4mm of rain fell across the region last month.
As a result, Southern Water announced a hosepipe ban for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, beginning at 5pm on Friday, August 5.
South East Water has announced a hosepipe and sprinkler ban for Kent and Sussex, beginning on August 12.
While other companies are yet to announce hosepipe bans, customers in the south of England and the Midlands have been encouraged to use less water.
People could be hit with a £1,000 fine if they ignore the ban.
Maps from the Environment Agency (EA) show that river levels across the UK are either below normal, notably low or exceptionally low across the country, with only two locations ranked as “normal”.
Meanwhile, the National Drought Group (NDG) moved England into “Prolonged Dry Weather” status at an emergency meeting which took place at the end of last month.
This is one stage before a drought.
As well as extremely low water levels, the UK also saw exceptionally hot temperatures last month which exacerbated the issues.
Temperatures reached above 40C across England in July, in a heatwave which dried out gardens and farms and triggered wildfires that destroyed more than 40 properties.
Speaking after the NDG’s emergency meeting, the group’s chair Harvey Bradshaw said: “While last week’s extreme high temperatures are now behind us and there are currently no plans for restrictions on essential water use, we can all do our bit by reducing unnecessary water consumption and following advice from our water company to ensure this remains the case while our rivers are exceptionally low.
“We are working very closely with water companies, farmers and other water users to manage the current situation.”
He added: “Today’s meeting was an important step in agreeing joint actions to protect our water resources with further dry weather forecasted for August, including ever-closer working to monitor and manage water supplies and the environment.”
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Even before the dry summer began, England’s rainfall was down by 26 percent.
In Wales, it was down 22 percent.
According to Government figures, more than 28 percent of underground water sources are overused.
The UK is expected to see further dry weather and high temperatures in August, with Met Office forecaster Annie Shuttleworth warning that temperatures could be 10C higher than average in some places in Europe, bringing “very warm air” across the continent.
She said: “Whilst not as extreme as recent heatwaves, persistent above average temperatures across much of Iberia and southern France will likely exacerbate ongoing heat-related issues”.