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Southeast England officially in drought

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The water companies serving southeast England have today announced a hosepipe ban from April 5 till further notice (almost certainly until at least Autumn 2012) as a result of two successive abnormally dry winters

The area covered is illustrated at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17340844. The ban at present means above all that gardens can't be hosed or sprinkled. It doesn't affect farmers much yet, and most private gardens can, at present, get enough water for fruit and veg from manually administered watering cans. But, unless we get steady rain (highly unlikely) for the next few months, practically all lawns and many formal gardens, especially in London, Kent and the Cotswolds, are going to be goners.

It's highly likely the ban will be extended to other non-essential uses over the next month (there's almost no rain forecast in the affected area), though it's less likely it'll be extended geographically.

Even in normal times, rainfall in SE England is extraordinarily low. But this year, anyone planning to tour gardens ought to go elsewhere, in Britain or Europe, or find alternative distractions

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