HAMPSHIRE may be facing a hosepipe ban this summer as Southern Water announced plans to spend £800million on water infrastructure in the area.

Southern Water has announced it may apply for a drought permit to help restrict how much water can be taken from key rivers, such as the Test and Itchen, following a drier-than-usual winter.

A spokesman said: "If permits are granted then to minimise environmental damage, Southern Water will introduce temporary bans on some types of water use such as using hosepipes to water lawns or pressure washers to clean cars or patios.

"The winter was dry with only 76 per cent of the average rainfall. In May we saw less than 40 per cent of average rainfall in Hampshire.

"Based on forecasts of river flows, it is looking more likely we will have to apply for a drought permit later this summer.

"We know it would be inconvenient and disruptive having to impose such measures but protecting the environment is a task for all of us."

This comes as Southern Water revealed it is planning on splashing up to £100 million on a scheme in Fawley which can turn sea water into fresh water.

The company is aiming to complete the desalination plant by 2025.

Nigel Hepworth, water resources policy manager at Southern Water, said: “We are spending this money to enhance our regional grid so we can import more from neighbouring areas.

"We will also be spending an extra £2.4 million on new technology and people in the coming year to tackle leaks on top of the £16 million we spent last year.”

He added: “Preventing water wastage will be a key task for everyone who cares about the county’s precious rivers and we will also be advising customers on how they can be more water efficient to save money and protect the environment.”

This will be the first new reservoir to be built in the south east since the 1970s, which looks to encourage wildlife to the area and provide a new community leisure facility for the area.

Residents should also expect to see a pipeline spanning from Bournemouth to the west end of Hampshire, which should supply around 220 million litres a day.

A further £103 million will be invested into the new Havant Thicket reservoir and will give approximately 21 million litres a day to Hampshire residents in a supply deal with Portsmouth Water.

When asked about how much the pipeline would cost, Southern Water were not able to reveal a figure as this scheme is still being planned.

A Southern Water spokesman added: “A further £110 million will be spent on the Hampshire Grid which will enhance transfer around our regional network.”