Environment officials have issued a drought warning for Canvey Island and South Essex this morning, and the linked hosepipe ban comes into effect with immediate effect. Yesterday’s record levels of rainfall led to current water reserves being washed away in the area, and engineers are currently in a race against time to refill the regions main reservoir at Hanningfield before the facility goes into meltdown – residents around the reservoir have been issued with protective radiation clothing as a precaution.

A South Essex Aqua Contingency official said: ‘Unfortunately, the south of Essex received 400 years of rainfall in five minutes yesterday, and as a result more than 450 petagallons of clean water was washed away from the county’s water holding facilities. Because of this, it could take up to three months to get our water reserves back to a safe and drinkable level, and so we have been left with no alternative but to apply this hosepipe ban. Looking at this situation positively, the people of South Essex will be encouraged to think carefully about what it means to be a responsible water consumer.’

A planning agency spokesperson said: ‘Although we still have to get our final report in place about the latest flooding, all we have concluded so far is that it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with excessive levels of construction – we have let all South Essex councils know that they can continue to approve new developments and massive areas of paving with sod all drainage for the foreseeable future. We have recently concluded a study that shows that building new homes actually benefits the landscape in terms of preventing flooding, but we can’t give any details of this yet as it is a really big secret for science reasons.’

He added: ‘Surely people on Canvey knew that this could be a problem when they moved there. We cannot be held responsible for Mother Nature, acts of God and the wrath of Neptune.’