Car wash operators have been forced to waste money on unnecessary water recycling systems, following the drought orders by water companies which were threatened but never imposed, according to David Charman of Parkfoot Garage in Kent. He is now demanding an explanation from his supplier, Mid Kent Water, who he says has ’misled’ businesses and left them in limbo by not implementing the drought order granted in May.

"Why apply for a drought order if you’re not going to implement it?," he said. "Having had a very dry year when they could have introduced restrictions, they haven’t.

"In the future how can they even consider asking for these conditions again, given that they had them and didn’t use them?

"In April the water companies made the situation sound so severe that if they didn’t get these orders put in quickly then we would have standpipes in the streets," he said. "They can’t keep dilly-dallying, while businesses are kept in the dark. That’s just not acceptable."

David has spent several thousand pounds on re-instating a reclaim system at his Larkfield site.

He has also drilled a bore hole to ensure a continuing supply to his main Parkfoot Garage site in West Malling.

So far three water companies have been granted drought orders but only Sutton and East Surrey Water has imposed extra restrictions. A spokesman for Mid Kent Water said businesses had been fortunate not to have had the drought order enforced.