'Winter Drought' Warnings Lead To Hosepipe Ban Fears

'Winter Drought' Warnings Lead To Hosepipe Ban Fears

Householders will be urged to save water over Christmas after a water company became the first in almost a decade to seek a drought permit during winter.

Anglian Water has applied to the Environment Agency for the permit, which would allow the company to take extra water out of the River Nene in the east of England to top up its Pitsford Water reservoir in Northamptonshire.

The application follows a year of what the company called "exceptionally dry weather", which has left the reservoir at just 56% of its capacity.

A spokesman said: "Last year's winter was the most severe since records began over 100 years ago. If that wasn't enough, we saw an average 20% less winter rainfall in our supply region, followed by the driest spring in over 80 years.

"Despite these exceptional challenges we kept water supplies secure, and by the start of spring we had replenished our reservoirs. However, through spring, rainfall remained exceptionally low, particularly in the west of the region.

"If the dry conditions were to continue throughout this winter, storage levels at Pitsford would not recover and would remain very low. That's why we're taking prudent action now, applying for a drought permit to try to keep water supplies secure and customers' taps flowing."

The company is also launching a campaign to encourage households to start saving now for summer by reducing the amount of water they use and limiting wastage at home.

"This isn't about going without, this is just about being more careful with what we all use," the spokesman said. "As a precaution, we have submitted an application to the Environment Agency for a winter drought permit. This permit, if granted, will allow us to take additional water from the River Nene during the winter.

"We have applied for this permit in winter because taking water at that time of year is less likely to have an impact on the environment."

The last time such a permit was applied for during the autumn or winter months was in 2003, the Environment Agency said.


What's Hot