Water companies across the UK have issued warnings to consumers amid fears the country is heading for a drought.
The National Drought Group moved England into “Prolonged Dry Weather” status, which is the final stage before an official drought, at an emergency meeting last month.
According to the Met Office, July 2022 was the driest July for England since 1935, with England getting just 35% of its average rainfall for the month, and Wales 53%.
Two water companies have introduced hosepipe bans, and others are encouraging consumers to be mindful of their water usage. The guidelines from each water company in the UK are set out below:
– Anglian Water:
Anglian Water operates in the driest region in the UK, and last month had just one fifth of the rain usually expected in July.
Although their reservoir levels are stable, at around 80% full, officials are watching river levels very closely.
There are currently no hosepipe bans currently in place across the region, but the firm is urging people to use water wisely, whatever the weather.
– Dwr Cymru Welsh Water:
Dwr Cymru has implemented a temporary hosepipe ban to protect Pembrokeshire’s water supplies and environment. From 8am on August 19, the company has announced that customers will not be able to use a hosepipe to carry out activities in and around their properties such as watering plants or filling paddling pools or hot tubs.
Ian Christie, Welsh Water’s managing director of water services, said: “We have not seen such prolonged dry conditions in Pembrokeshire since 1976. Introducing the hosepipe ban is not a decision we have taken lightly, but if we are to make sure there is enough water for the rest of the summer and into autumn then we need to act now to try and prevent any further restrictions later on.
“The ban will apply to just over 2% of the three million population we serve in Wales.”
– Northumbrian Water:
Northumbrian Water is not anticipating the need for any restrictions this summer, and added that as an environmentally-responsible company, it is monitoring and carefully managing the resources they take from the environment.
– Severn Trent:
Severn Trent claimed that there has not been a hosepipe ban in the region for more than 27 years, but staff continue to monitor reservoir levels and demand for water closely.
The firm has issued tips for customers to help reduce non-essential water use including having showers instead of baths, cleaning cars with a bucket and sponge rather than a hose and watering plants in the evening with a can.
– South West Water:
Although it has not introduced a hosepipe ban, South West Water is sharing water saving tips and advice with customers and urging everyone to think carefully about their water usage, such as avoiding using a hosepipe in the garden and for washing cars.
It has warned if the situation worsens they may have to introduce formal restrictions over the coming weeks to limit the pressure on resources and to protect the environment.
– Thames Water:
Thames Water has introduced a statutory drought plan, which sets out the actions it would take, and when it would take them, at various stages of a developing drought situation.
The first step of that plan was taken in May, with a media campaign promoting water saving tips to help customers use water more efficiently. The next stage of the plan would be to introduce a temporary use ban which is likely to include hosepipes.
– United Utilities Water:
United Utilities Water is not considering any restrictions on use, but added that whatever the weather, it always encouraged people to use water wisely.
– Wessex Water:
Wessex Water says there are currently no supply issues and no prospect of a hosepipe ban in the region, but it always encourage customers to use water responsibly for the benefit of everyone and the environment
– Yorkshire Water:
Yorkshire Water is asking customers to reduce their usage where they can and allow their lawns to go brown, not wash the car for a few weeks and turn the taps off when they are brushing their teeth to reduce waste.
The firm added: “Our team of leakage inspectors are out and about across Yorkshire, working hard to save water from leaky pipes, and are prioritising larger leaks.”