Hosepipe ban begins
Watering cans are safe to use.
HOSEPIPE users tempted to break the drought ban are being urged to think about the impact their water use has on nature.
The ban was introduced today by seven companies including Thames Water and South East Water with the backing of nature conservation charities including the RSPB which says using less water helps natural habitats supported by rivers and wetlands.
Steve Gilbert, conservation programme manager for RSPB South East said: "Reducing demand now will help keep more water in the environment, keeping rivers flowing for longer and protecting their precious wildlife.
"We are lucky to have a huge variety of wildlife and habitats in Berkshire, which makes for an incredibly diverse countryside including wetlands and heathland. One of the most important resources for some of the more vulnerable wildlife species is undoubtedly, water.
"For them, this will be a race against time to make sure that land is managed in the best possible way, under such serious circumstances.
"This serious and prolonged drought has already had a big impact on RSPB wetland nature reserves across the South East with dry conditions threatening to impact this spring's breeding season at many sites.
"The water levels at these sites are already dropping and it is really important for species such as lapwings that they hatch their chicks to feed on abundant wet mud. If we don't get any rain, they are in serious trouble."
He added: "Sadly, every indicator, whether river flow or groundwater level, is telling us that this is a very serious drought that could be worse than the infamous summer of 1976."
For water saving tips visit www.rspb.org.uk/advice/green
To reduce water use:
*Take short showers rather than baths
*Use water butts and left over water from washing up bowls and basins to water gardens and house plants
*Only use washing machines and dishwashers when you have a full load
*Comply with hose-pipe ban restrictions and please don't use hose-pipes or sprinklers in the garden or to clean your car
*Contact your water company for water efficient shower heads and shower timers.