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Drought may force Britain to ration water

LONDON, April 6 (UPI) -- With predictions of a dry summer, officials in Britain say the country may face water rationing in the worst drought since 1976.

Fountains in Trafalgar Square and elsewhere in London have been turned off and households face $1,500 fines for using hoses to water lawns, fill ponds or wash cars, The Daily Telegraph reported.

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A large part of Eastern England officially has drought conditions and they are expected to spread west into the Midlands and Southwest with Britain's Met Office predicting a dry summer.

March was a dry month and most reservoirs are below normal levels while two-thirds of rivers are "exceptionally" low, officials said.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said more severe water restrictions might be necessary by the end of this year.

"It is possible we will limp through this summer and we will be all right so long as people are sensible, but if we have a third dry winter we are not going to be in a good position next year and we are looking at more severe restrictions," she said.

A substantial amount of rain will be needed over a prolonged period to even begin recovering from the drought, water company officials said.

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"This situation has taken a couple of years to build up, it will take quite a long time to put right," Richard Aylard at Thames Water said.

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