Britain’s sweltering heatwave is now the longest in five years with temperatures of 82F today.
The country is enjoying its 16th consecutive day of heat above 28C, making the spell of scorching hot weather the longest since 2013 when the UK enjoyed 19 days in a row above the same mark.
It comes after England enjoyed its hottest day of the year on Sunday, with a high of 31.7C (89F) recorded in Gosport, Hampshire, making it hotter than Barbados.
The Met Office is predicting the heatwave to continue for at least another week, but there will be respite for those struggling to sleep at night as cooler air drifts in from tomorrow, bringing the mercury down to the mid-20s.
As thousands continue flock to beaches and parks to make the most of the unrelenting sunny weather, water companies are urging customers to use as little water as possible.
United Utilities, which serves seven million customers in the North-West, warned it will have ‘no choice’ but to impose a hosepipe ban within the next few days if demand does not fall.
There has been no rain in the region for three weeks – causing reservoir levels to drop dramatically, with Wayoh Reservoir which supplies 200,000 people in Bolton reduced to a trickle.
A hosepipe ban, which is already in force in Northern Ireland, would stop people watering their gardens as well using sprinklers, cleaning cars and filling garden ponds and paddling pools.
The nation’s water companies are struggling to meet demand as reservoirs dry up – with low water pressure leaving some customers reliant on bottled water.
Thames Water, Britain’s biggest water firm, messaged customers over the weekend asking them not to use hosepipes.
It said in a text: ‘Your support required: Water supply risk in your area. To keep taps running please do not use sprinklers & hoses, & use as little as you can. Thank you.’
The firm was forced to set up bottled water stations for residents in Waverly, Surrey due to low pressure at Blackdown Reservoir.
It has also taken out adverts on billboards on the M25 and in shopping centres with the message: ‘Do your bit to save water’.
Meanwhile in Buckinghamshire a fleet of six tankers is topping-up Ashendon reservoir with 430,000 litres of drinking water every day in a desperate round-the-clock operation to boost levels.
However Water UK, which represents suppliers, said a rainy spring means ‘there is enough water to go around’ and there is currently no prospect of hosepipe bans in regions other than north west England.
Temperatures are forecast to dip slightly from today, but remain well above average for this time of year.
Met Office forecaster Martin Bowles said: ‘The rest of July will be warm and pleasant and we’re not expecting a massive breakdown of the hot weather any time soon.
‘This week will remain mostly sunny and dry across the country, but a little less warm with maximum temperatures in the mid-20s rather than 30s.
‘On Thursday and Friday we might see some showers but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the hot spell. It will still be pretty warm on those dates.
Mr Bowles added: ‘There could be some showers over the week, but the amount isn’t likely to top up reservoirs. It will be a few millimetres probably.
‘The weather is not yet comparable with 1976 because the issue in 1976 was it was dry over a very long period beginning in 1975. While it was unusually dry this June, we haven’t had that sort of length of dry weather.’