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It’s official! Swathes of UK enter heatwave as people told to only use water for essential use
13 June 2023, 15:36 | Updated: 13 June 2023, 15:43
The UK has officially been hit by a heatwave with temperatures outdoing the likes of Monaco and the French Riviera, but Brits have also been urged to restrict their water consumption.
Swathes of areas stretching from the North West to the South East of England have been hit by an official heatwave, the Met Office has said.
Areas in the South are expected to reach highs of 28C, while Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North of England are forecast peaks of 25C.
But the heatwave has hit at a less than ideal time for those in Kent and Sussex, as the local water company has urged residents to restrict water consumption only to "essential" uses, such as drinking, cooking and hygiene-related purposes to help restore the network.
The decreased supply is affecting Wadhurst, Staplehurst, Mayfield and Crowborough.
Water supply issues have been attributed to the UK’s six-week spell of dry weather with no “significant rainfall”, which has placed pressure on local supplies and the water company’s ability to “treat, pump and supply water”.
Two schools in East Sussex, Beacon Academy in Crowborough and Rotherfield Primary School, have been forced to shut temporarily due to the lack of access to water.
Kate Bishop, headteacher at the primary school, said: “We have 275 children and staff within the school and we just couldn't maintain hygiene standards or keep them hydrated in the hot weather.”
Despite pleas from the water company for locals to reduce water consumption at this time, Vicky Cheeseman, a charity manager for Rotherfield St Martin said many residents are not aware of the outage due to not using social media.
She said: “Word's getting round the village quite quickly and they are beginning to panic and worry about how they are going to get water.”
Weather alerts were issued for the UK on Monday amid forecasts of thunderstorms, as the country was hit by heavy rain, hail and lightning.
The storms disrupted Manchester City’s trophy parade after the club celebrated their treble victory.
It’s not the first time South East Water have experienced supply issues, as in December 2022 they had a number of water pipes burst because of snow and ice thawing too quickly overnight, which left many in Kent and Sussex without water in the festive period.
The company was warned by a government minister that it “must act urgently” to improve its performance.
Locals to the area have criticised the company with complaints online though, as many have suggested the supply issues are becoming a yearly occurrence.
One said: "And so it begins..."
Meanwhile another hit out at the company, saying: "It literally rained pretty much non stop for months until a couple of weeks ago but the water companies don't build reservoirs they prefer to give our money to their rich shareholders and board members."
The heatwave comes after new figures were released from meteorologists earlier this week that revealed the chances of Britain experiencing a hot summer is now at 45%, which is 2.3 times more than the usual figure.