Water restrictions are unlikely to be implemented straight away should Thames Water have its drought order approved this month, the company’s environment director has said.

Richard Aylard said the application had been made to ‘prepare for the worst’ and would only be used as a last resort: “We expect a decision by the end of this month, but want to reassure customers that we would only bring in further restrictions if absolutely necessary.”

Meanwhile, the Financial Times has reported that the drought across the south east had eased following restrictions on water usage and a damp start to August. Industry association Water UK said the situation had stabilised, although the drought is not yet over.