RESIDENTS in the South East have been without tap water this weekend, and that could happen in North Hampshire too.

That's according to water company South East water, who say that the last couple of days have seen a "record-breaking" demand for water across the region.

The unique circumstances of more people working from home than usual, combined with the soaring temperatures that are expected to continue into this week, have meant that despite upping drinking water production by 150 million litres per day, it is not enough to meet demand.

As a result, at the end of last week some customers in Kent and Sussex were without water, and unless residents cut their usage, the same might happen in parts of North Hampshire.

The company, who also supply water to Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey, are asking customers to stay away from their hose pipes, garden sprinklers and garden water toys.

Steve Andrews, head of central operations for South East Water said: “Many people don’t realise that water is a fresh product which is produced 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“When we draw the water from deep underground or from rivers it has to be treated to a very high standard at our water treatment works before being sent along miles of pipe to homes and businesses.

“Our water technicians have been working round the clock to produce this extra drinking quality water needed - the equivalent of filling to the brim almost half a million baths – but with this record amount of water being used daily it is getting harder to keep up.

“I would like to say thank you to our many water savvy customers who are helping by being water aware, but I am now appealing to every one - household and businesses - to keep water for essential use only while the heat is on this weekend and next week.”

Since they first put out their appeal at the start of the weekend, South East Water said that demand was cut by 30 million litres on Saturday.

Among the water saving measures that the company are asking their customers to exploit include not filling paddling pools - an average pool needs around 530 litres of water to be filled to the brim. This is three times the total daily amount of water used by one person.

Other tips include:

  • Top up the paddling pool instead of refilling it every day. When you're finished, use the water on your plants and grass so none goes to waste
  • Invest in a water butt for your garden and use the harvested water on your plants (they grow better with rain water and you'll save money on your water bill too)
  • Remember – brown lawns bounce back
  • Water your pots and hanging baskets either early in the morning or during the evening to reduce evaporation in the midday sun
  • If you’re potting up or planting containers, use ones made from plastic, glazed terracotta or wood. These tend to lose less water than bare terracotta
  • Bury a short length of pipe into your pot; if you water into the tube the water goes directly to the roots where the plant needs it most
  • Use mulches like bark chips or gravel to retain moisture and keep weeds down

Should water supply be cut for an extended period of time, South East Water will set up bottled water stations, which are designed to meet social distancing requirements.

They will also continue to supply water to vulnerable customers, who can sign up for the Priority Services Register at: