Water Industry News

Northumbrian Water Sees Unprecedented Rise In Water Usage

Soaring temperatures over the last few weeks have seen an unprecedented rise in water usage and consumption across the north-east, with Northumbrian Water now asking customers to use water wisely wherever possible.


Extra demand is being driven by the impact of staycations, as well as people continuing to work from home, with the amount of water now being used 25 per cent higher than was anticipated. Hot tubs, paddling pools and sprinklers are all contributing to the increase, as well.


More boots are now on the ground to detect and repair leaks, while tankers are also being brought in from other supply areas to help balance the demand. All available resources are now being used and, although the supplier has said it doesn’t need to introduce temporary usage bans as yet, customer support is required in order to meet the current demand.


Water-saving advice from Northumbrian Water includes turning off the sprinklers (grass can go without water for four to six weeks), use a watering can instead of a hose on the garden, covering the paddling pool after use each day to keep it free from debris and reuse the water for a few days, and not using doggy paddling pools.


Head of water service planning Martin Lunn said: “We plan and prepare for high water demand situations and thanks to improvements and investments in our network then we’re able to move water around to ensure people remain in supply.


“However, what we’re seeing right now is incredibly high demand, due to record high temperatures, staycations and covid-19 impacts all at once – meaning that we’re working flat out to ensure that we can produce as much clean water for people as they need.”


He went on to say that millions of litres of water is being brought in from other areas, while 120 members of staff are now working to find and fix leaks so as to maximise the leak and burst repairs.


A similar appeal to use water wisely was also issued in June, with the month emerging as the driest June in the region since 1976. The Met Office said at the time that only ten per cent of rainfall had been seen compared to what would usually be expected for the month.


The north-east saw just 6.1mm of rainfall for June, compared to the monthly average of 63mm. To compound the problem, UK water demand has climbed by 12 per cent since 2015.


Research shows that using a hosepipe for an hour can use 100 litres of water, but using a water butt will collect up to 200 litres, which will help save water. And paddling pools use up to 450 litres of water, while hot tubs use up to 1,500 litres.


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