So now the hosepipe bans are coming in. Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (I’m off to the IOW at the weekend) already has one, and now Kent and Sussex have followed suit. South East Water says rule-breakers could be hit with £1000 fine, and urged people to contact them if they see others ignoring restrictions.

I live in Suffolk, one of the driest counties in England. We’ve had no rain for weeks. We’ve had the driest year so far since records began in 1836. Our local streams have all been dry for weeks. I’m sure it won’t be long before Anglian Water issue a hosepipe ban too. When I walk around our village in the evening I see many people using hoses to water their grass and flowers, and yearn to shout at them to conserve such a precious resource.

I’ve warned my sons that if it’s anything like the summer of 1976, the taps will run dry and we’ll have to use standpipes in the street. Leon says that won’t happen, but I’m more pragmatic. I also remember when the standpipes ran dry and the Army were called in to give out bottled water from the backs of lorries.

This shortage of water could of course also be down to so many new houses being built. In our local villages hundreds and hundreds of new houses have been built almost overnight as farmers sell off land that is no longer profitable. All these new properties cause more demand for water, but sadly councils and developers only see pound signs and do not think about possible water problems in dry summers.

We have become used to turning on a tap and expecting water to come out of it, but in the not-to-distant future I can see a time when this will not happen. People… it’s time to hit the hardware stores and buy water butts.

Our brand new air-con unit also gives out quite a lot of water as a by-product, and we collect it and so far have used it to water our tomato plants, carrots, rhubarb and beans. However, there may come a time when I’ll be boiling it for drinking water instead and letting the veggies go to pot. The grass is crunchy and burnt. Sam has already tied up the hose and put it in the shed.

It’ll be the first time I’ve visited the IOW and not washed the decking…