A HOSEPIPE ban is coming to Southampton, with people urged to use less water as the dry spell continues.

Southern Water has asked customers to limit water use as much as possible as levels in the River Test fall.

The ban applies to all Southern Water areas. It will come into force next Friday at 5pm.

The use of a hosepipe, including using sprinklers, dripper hoses, automatic irrigation systems and similar devices, will not be allowed.

There are exceptions for people watering plants for commercial sale or use, or for health and safety reasons.

Read more: Countywide hosepipe ban announced

As fears over a possible drought grow, Southern Water engineers have been working to prevent burst pipes from causing flooding.

This could happen as a result of high temperatures.

Earlier this month, a torrent of water poured down the A27 in Bursledon.

Video footage shows how a water leak in underground pipes affected the road on July 7.

Southern Water workers say leaks can become a massive problem and can even lift the tarmac.

Water mains need to be shut down in emergency situations as soon as possible, if the leak is deemed unsafe. This can leave communities temporarily without water.

Read more: Drought warning as people in Southampton urged to limit water use

Patrick Moore, supervisor of the leakage team at Southern Water, said: "At Christmas and in the summer we get a lot busier.

"The ground expands in the summer and shrinks in winter. As the ground expands, the pipes can come into contact with pieces of metal in the ground which can pierce them. 

"It can only take a paper-thin sized split to cause a leak, because of the water pressure on the mains.

"There's nothing we can do to prevent leaks, but we anticipate and budget for the busier times of the year. Any leak can soon develop and became a big problem."

Daily Echo: Patrick Moore and Paul Flux from Southern Water checking for leaks Patrick Moore and Paul Flux from Southern Water checking for leaks 

With soaring temperatures and dry conditions, the country faces the worst drought since 1976.

The conditions have forced Southern Water to apply for a drought permit to use water from the River Test.

The river in Southampton has dropped below the usual minimum, and the company needs permission to use its water.

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