It said it did not yet expect a hosepipe ban to be implemented but is urging people to use water wisely. Customer service delivery director Peter Farrer said: "The application for a drought order has been made and we are in dialogue with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Fisheries Board and Scottish Natural Heritage."
He added: "Because more dry weather has been forecast, our position remains the same and, as required by law, we will be placing a notice in local papers with our proposals for drought orders.
"We hope to abstract water from Garwald Water and Loch Ree to bolster supplies from Black Esk and Penwhirn respectively, as well as setting up a temporary water treatment works at Purdomstone reservoir."
Dumfries-based Garden Wise garden centre manager Alistair Bertram said: "At the beginning of November last year we had so much flooding that the water came into our car park, but since then we have not had a lot of rain.
"We didn't even know there was an application for a drought order in this area. But no matter what happens we are still going to have to water the plants."
HTA business development director Tim Briercliffe said: "The HTA continues to promote the responsible use of water by the gardening public but we reaffirm our belief that hosepipe bans are a blunt instrument and that there are less painful routes that will achieve the same water savings.
"Our proposed code of practice, which we developed in association with water efficiency body Waterwise, lays out how water companies can restrict water use through a phased approach with a hosepipe ban being the final option rather than the first."
Commenting on the drought order application, he added: "We recognise that it is flagging up a water shortage and hope that a hosepipe ban won't be necessary. If it is then we would like to see Scottish Water use a phased approach to its implementation."
- For further details, see www.scottishwater.co.uk/savewater.