Water companies may have to impose restrictions on commercial users, including nurseries, garden centres, parks and gardens, if the coming winter is as dry as the last.
The warning came from Southern Water, which supplies a large part of southern England and has imposed several hosepipe bans. A representative said: “It is not a step we’d take lightly. We would have to apply to the secretary of state at DEFRA for a drought order.”
Southern Water and Mid Kent Water have asked commercial users and local authorities to co-operate in conserving water.
Coblands Nurseries, which has several sites, mostly in Kent, has been affected by water shortages. Production director Chris Lane said: “Our reservoir supply at one site has dropped and we have gone on to mains. We are metered, so we have to pay for it.”
But in Hampshire, Hillier nursery director John Woodhead said his area was unaffected. The nursery’s site at Liss has a licence to abstract water from a stream. “We put in a water recycling and treatment system years ago. All you need is a good thunderstorm.”
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