UK water companies are asking Brits to use water wisely during the COVID-19 lockdown. Companies are fighting to cope from the impact of a record dry Spring coupled with an uplift in demand as people remained in their homes under the government’s stay-at-home advice.
They are appealing to households to avoid using sprinklers and hoses and not to fill paddling pools. Ironically, February 2020 was the wettest on record, but with very little rain in the period between March and June the rivers and reservoirs are no longer as full as they were before the UK went into lockdown.
This May was the sunniest UK month on record, which coincided with the nation being largely at home and water companies trying to keep pace with water usage with some areas reporting a 25% increase in water demand.
Water firms ‘can’t keep up’ with lockdown demand
Severn Trent Water said its reservoirs were 85% full but it was struggling to treat and pump the water to households fast enough to meet demand.
A spokesperson for Severn Trent Water said: “Last week we hit our biggest ever demand which was about 20% more than the week before.
“We’ve ramped up production of treated water to record levels in response, but we’d love it if everyone could ditch the sprinklers and the pressure washers to make sure there’s enough water for the great hygiene we all need at the moment.” He added.
Christine McGourty, chief executive of Water UK, which represents water companies said: “We’re seeing truly incredible surges of demand. People’s patterns of using water have changed with the weather – and more people are at home because of COVID.
“It’s things like paddling pools and sprinklers that are the biggest challenge. So, we’re just asking people to save a little bit of water and that’ll make a huge difference.”
Water is not reaching taps fast enough
Reservoirs are currently still in a healthy state, but some firms reportedly can’t get enough water to the taps and water pressure is dropping. The outlook suggests that we are expecting drier summer months to come, and whilst there is no hosepipe ban in place as the present time, companies are urging careful use of water resources.
It’s not just homeowners that are affected by the lack of rain, as farmers are fearing a potential drought too. Experts have spoken of how farmers, households, businesses and water firms themselves need to explore new ways to consume less water as our climate changes.