Britain is set for a dirty summer with no baths as car washes and swimming pools shut – because water chiefs say our floody-awful spring isn’t wet enough.
Despite deluges, people are being told to cut baths to save water, like in the 1976 drought when Brits were famously advised to share baths “with a friend.”
Hosepipe bans are being lined up after winter’s drought, while many car washes and swimming pools face being closed by drought orders this summer.
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The shutdowns were close to being ordered by water firms in last year’s drought.
Millions would be left with grubby motors, while all non-public swimming pools – including pools run by gyms and swimming clubs – would be closed in drought order areas.
With a dry April ahead, experts say March downpours are not enough to prevent water shortage issues from June.
Anglian Water warned of a hosepipe ban. Water analysts said months of washouts would be needed to remove the threat of drought.
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But the Met Office forecast a drier April and said a dry spring is 50 per cent more likely than normal.
Anglian Water said: “We are watching the situation closely. The longer-term outlook suggests a drier-than-average spring.
“If we reach the point of needing a hosepipe ban, we won’t hesitate to introduce one.”
The firm’s drought plan states: “Activities that potentially would be restricted under a Non-Essential Water Use Ban include filling non-domestic swimming pools and operating mechanical vehicle washers.”
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Water regulator Ofwat said: “There are many ways you can save water. If possible, take a shower instead of a bath.”
Experts at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said: “Unsettled weather in March has wet soil, but a return to dry conditions could lead to water resource pressures in the summer.
“Unseasonably sustained rainfall will be needed during coming months in the South-West and East Anglia, where drought status persists and reservoir stocks or groundwater are depleted following the dry winter.”
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Environment Agency National Drought Group chairman John Leyland said: “We cannot rely on the weather alone. Low rainfall in February highlights the importance of remaining vigilant.
“It is important we all use water carefully to protect our water resources.”
Sam Larsen, director of planning at Water UK, which represents water companies, said: “It remains to be seen whether rainfall will pick up before summer. It’s vital we all continue to save water.”
The Met Office said: “There is a higher than normal chance of a dry spring.”
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