NEWS
28/06/2018 15:15 BST | Updated 28/06/2018 16:18 BST

Conserve Water Plea As Heatwave Puts Strain On Supplies

Bottled water collection points set up as a precaution.

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Water companies are urging people to help conserve supplies due to a spike in demand during the UK’s current heatwave.

The plea was made on Thursday as temperatures soared across the country for the fourth day running, with customers urged to put away garden sprinklers, take short showers instead of baths and avoid using hoses to clean cars or water the plants.

Huge surges in demand for water at morning and evening peak times mean utilities are having to pump billions more litres into the network, which they say is being used by customers as fast as it is supplied.

Householders in some areas may notice a drop in their water pressure unless people make some simple changes to the way they use resources, industry body Water UK warned.

Some parts of Staffordshire and Shropshire have seen supplies temporarily interrupted as a result of high demand, prompting Severn Water to set up bottled water collection points “as a precaution”.

Overnight tanker crews also injected water directly into pipes in the region to keep customers supplied.

Severn Trent said there was plenty of water in reservoirs, and it had put an extra 300 million litres into its pipes on Wednesday, but the network could only carry “so much”.

Doug Clarke, the company’s water efficiency expert, said: “We need people to think about how they’re using water – using a sprinkler might green up your lawn but that water would be better used for drinking or washing.”

He added: “This is all about being neighbourly.

“Just think about whether you’re making the absolute best of the drinking water we’re producing for you and your neighbours.”

Customers in some parts of the Home Counties, served by Affinity Water, have also seen interruptions to supply or low pressure in peak periods.

An Affinity Water spokesperson said: “We usually supply on average 900 million litres of water each day to 3.6 million people and we have had to significantly increase this to meet demand due to the hot weather.

“This demand is averaging at 1.2 billion litres of water per day, but at times this has peaked to 1.6 billion litres of water in a single day.

“We are asking all customers to use water wisely, to reduce the demand on our network.”

The company is urging people to adopt measures such as watering the garden with a watering can, teaming up children with their friends for paddling pool dates to avoid filling up too many pools and not to worry about the lawn going brown.

Elsewhere people served by Southern Water “may experience low pressure overnight as we refill the network to exceptionally high water demand. This is likely to be ongoing for the next few nights”, the company said.

But rain in winter and spring had helped recharge reservoirs and groundwater supplies, so there were unlikely to be any restrictions such as hosepipe bans this summer, Southern Water said.

Despite dealing with high demand, other companies were reporting no heatwave-related problems or threat of hosepipe bans, but called on people to conserve water.