English courses facing drought issues

Domestic hosepipe ban could extend to golf sprinkler systems soon

English courses facing drought issues

Hundreds of golf courses in England are facing arid conditions on fairways, greens and tees as water companies try to cope with a worsening drought.

With reservoirs at their lowest for 20 years in some areas of Yorkshire, the Midlands and South and East of England, and millions of homes facing hosepipe bans from early April, golf courses are bracing themselves for firm, hard-running surfaces if bans are extended to sprinkler systems.

However, the ban is not expected to include the far north of the country, Wales, the Black Country and Staffordshire, where water firms have said the regions was not yet in drought.

The move to introduce restrictions follows months of concern about the parched conditions, which has seen rivers run dry and reservoirs at record low levels. In some areas, this has been the driest winter since records began. Weeks of sustained rainfall would be needed for levels to get back to normal.

Sunday was second warmest day of the year, and the Met Office is not forecasting any significant rainfall in drought-affected areas over the next month.

Anglian, Southern, Thames, South East and Veolia – which covers part of London and the Home Counties – are set to bring in bans which will start in the next month. The companies have a total of about 20 million customers. Portsmouth Water and Sutton & East Surrey Water may also announce restrictions this month.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Hosepipe bans are very effective at cutting water usage, especially in the summer months, as 50 per cent of water use is domestic.

“Everyone must play their part by using water wisely.”

The first step companies can take is restricting the use of hosepipes and sprinklers for washing cars and watering gardens. Those who flout a hosepipe ban face a £1,000 fine.

Caps on non-essential business use such as watering golf courses, cleaning pavements and car washes could follow. Olympic Games officials are said to be drawing up contingency plans.

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