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    England Drought Tightens Water Supply for Millions

    By By Jim Andrews, Accuweather.com senior meteorologist
    March 15, 2012, 6:35:01 AM EDT

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    Tough water restrictions have been issued for 20 million UK residents in light of worsening drought in England.

    The restrictions, including a "hosepipe ban" on a range of outdoor water usage, follow two years of low rainfall that has left reservoirs at record low volumes, the UK's Daily Mail website said on Monday.

    Photos posted on the website showed dry stream beds.

    No fewer than seven water companies, serving London and, more broadly, the South and East of England, have taken the drastic measures, which will take effect on April 5.

    This action has followed combined fall/winter rainfall of only 62 to 75 percent of normal within the region's key watersheds.

    Lifting of the restrictions would then be contingent upon persistent above-normal rainfall over at least several weeks. Barring this, restrictions could last indefinitely.

    The ongoing drought has raised the specter of the 1976 drought, which coincided with the driest summer in 200 years, the Daily Mail said. At that time, severe water shortages dried taps, and wildlife and crops suffered.

    Below-normal rainfall will linger through at least the two weeks, AccuWeather.com meteorologists believe.

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