While in Britain only two water companies have banned outdoor hoses, others are already warning that restrictions could be introduced if the dry weather continues. The ban currently affects: millions of people in southern England, prohibiting them from cleaning cars, watering gardens or filling swimming pools. Rule breakers in some areas can be fined £1,000, or about $1,200.
The drought was particularly devastating for European agriculture, which was already suffering from an abnormally dry spring season, drying out crops, making livestock feed more difficult and worries about crop yields.
This week, the European Union executive urged member states of the bloc to reuse treated urban wastewater for agricultural irrigation.
“Freshwater resources are scarce and under increasing pressure,” said Virginijus Sinkevicius, the union’s environmental commissioner, said in a statementand added that “in times of unprecedented temperature spikes, we need to stop wasting water and use this resource more efficiently.”
In Italy, Coldiretti, a confederation of national agricultural producers, said last week that 250,000 farms were struggling because of the drought and rising energy costs. One farmer in 10 may never recover, the association said in a statement. On Thursday, the outgoing Italian government allocated some €200 million or $204 million to help farmers.
But the drought has struck in other ways as well.
In the Italian town of Borgoforte, a few miles south of Mantua, an unexploded World War II bomb surfaced from the riverbed of the Po as the water receded, forcing the evacuation of 3,000 residents this weekend. local news media reported.