The UK’s water companies are facing further criticism, as they prepare to extend hosepipe bans across much of the country at a time when reports suggest leaking infrastructure means 2.4 billion litres of water is being wasted every day.

The UK is braced for the second major heatwave of the summer this week, and with many parts of the country having not experienced significant rain for months fears are growing that widespread hosepipe bans and other water saving measures will soon have to be introduced.

Hosepipe bans have been introduced in recent days in parts of Kent and Hampshire, and further bans are planned in Sussex and Pembrokeshire. But many water firms are yet to introduce formal water-saving measures, despite growing fears that water supplies in much of the south of the country are under strain.

Writing in the Telegraph this weekend, Environment Sectretary George Eustice urged the industry to

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