What happens if a drought is declared? Rules Britons have to follow if hosepipe bans FAIL

Officials can apply for drought permits, which permit them to extract from local lakes, rivers or tributaries.

Many of the UK’s waterways are already depleted but so far untapped by companies, giving them another supply option.

The next step, an official “extreme drought”, would likely require people to follow the rules of a hosepipe ban.

These vary by company, but they often include overlapping rules that prohibit excessive water use.