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London – Millions of people in northern England are facing a ban on using garden hoses or sprinklers amid one of the longest spells of hot, dry weather in years.

The United Utilities water company said the temporary ban, which affects seven million domestic customers in northwestern England, will help “safeguard essential water supplies for longer.” It said Tuesday that despite recent rains, reservoir levels are still lower than average and hot, dry weather is expected to continue for the rest of the month.

The ban, which takes effect on Aug. 5, restricts the private use of hoses or sprinklers for watering gardens and washing cars.

Earlier this month Irish authorities imposed a similar garden hose ban in the Dublin area amid a rare drought.

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