Sweltering UK temperatures have seen water consumption soar by 50% in some areas. There have been no reports of taps running dry as yet. But a Met Office Level 3 heat warning for London and the south east has pushed the possibility of a hosepipe ban higher.

Several water companies have already told their customers to use water 'wisely'.


The heat is on

"With the recent hot weather, Affinity Water has experienced a large increase in demand for water, this has resulted in some of our customers experiencing low or reduced pressure," the London water company told the Telegraph.

People are taking more showers, drinking more water, filling paddling pools and watering the garden more. Since the mercury hit 30 degrees Celsius at the start of last week, Thames Water says its 9 million customers have been quenching their thirst with an extra 400 million litres a day - more than the 2.6 billion they usually get through.

"Brown is cool"

However, there appears no broad push from the water companies for a hosepipe ban, despite the searing temperatures which is the first extensive heatwave since 2006. Roll back to April and several companies had put bans into place. Anglian Water, Southern Water and Thames Water ended their bans last month.

"Don't worry if your lawn looks brown and parched," advises South East Water. "Going brown is its natural survival mechanism. When water is in short supply, grass responds by shutting down. The brown colour shows that it has stopped growing until more favourable conditions return. Grass is remarkably resilient and most lawns will recover completely when the rain finally arrives."

New warnings

Latest Met Office weather warnings claims a high probability of heatwave conditions from 9am today to 9pm on Friday in Southwest England, West Midlands, London and Southeast England; Southwest England and the West Midlands have been elevated from level 2 to level 3.

Level 3 is a notch below the most serious warning from the Met Office's public warning system. Above 3 is the Met's Emergency Level. A range of other factors, including air quality and humidity, also contribute to weather ratings.

Latest Met Office data claims the UK saw its highest 2013 temperature yesterday, with 32.2C recorded at Hampton Water Works in south west London. "This beats the previous highest temperature seen this year which was 31.5 C at Seavington, Hurcott Farm in Somerset on Saturday 13 July," the Met Office says.