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UK heatwave: update

The water that we all use in the summer is mainly gathered in the winter and spring. Above average rainfall in spring this year means water supplies across the UK are generally healthy, although demand for water has been extremely high during the heatwave. Companies have increased the amount of water they are treating and putting into the system to meet this increased demand, but to maintain water pressure levels and reduce the possibility of restrictions like hosepipe bans the companies are asking everyone to please use water wisely.

Although most water companies in the UK do not anticipate the need for hosepipe bans, two have taken extra steps to secure supplies. Northern Ireland Water had a hosepipe ban earlier this summer, which it lifted when demand for water was successfully reduced. United Utilities – which covers the North West of England – has planned a hosepipe ban to start in the first week of August, but thanks to reduced demand, increased rainfall in the North West and re-prioritised work to manage the network, they decided not to put the ban in place at the moment.

During this warm period, water is often being used by customers as fast as it can be put into the system. At peak times, companies have seen demand rise above the usual summer increases by as much as 30% in some areas. By making a few simple changes to the way they use water, customers can make sure this increase in demand doesn’t have an impact on water pressure.

Using water wisely helps to look after the environment too. Because the water that comes out of our taps originates from rivers and other sources in the environment, each drop we use is directly related to the amount of water left in the environment. While it is tempting to use more water in the hot weather, this can have a considerable impact on your local environment and the wildlife living there.

Some of the most effective water saving tactics are the easiest to deploy. Take a look at our top tips below:

  • Take a shower instead of a bath – the average shower uses 40 litres less water than a bath.
  • If you’d rather take a bath, running it just one inch shallower can save 5 litres of water – twice your daily intake through drinking.
  • Lawns do not need constant watering – a sprinkler can use as much as 1,000 litres of clean drinking water in a single hour; more than a family of four would use in a whole day.
  • Turn off the tap – you can save six litres of water a minute by turning off the tap when you brush your teeth.
  • Check for leaks in your home – if you have a dripping tap or a leaky pipe in your house you could be dripping away money, particularly if you are on a meter.
  • Visit your water company’s website – they will have more tips and may even offer free water saving products.

Companies continue to monitor the situation closely and are taking extra action to manage the network as efficiently as possible. This includes deploying additional leakage detection teams across the country, and any non-essential use of water by companies is being cut back.

By using water wisely, we can all help the situation get better.


Water UK Communications
0207 344 1805