What is your water company doing to cope with the dry weather?

Four companies have announced hosepipe bans so far, but more are expected.

09 August 2022

Four water companies have announced hosepipe bans in the UK, as another heatwave is set to scorch the country this week.

Thames Water is the latest to announce that it expects to implement a temporary usage ban (TUB) in the coming weeks due to the dry weather.

Here are each water company’s current guidelines concerning hosepipe bans and water usage across the UK, alongside water leakage statistics for those based in England and Wales:

– Anglian Water

Area: East of England and Hartlepool

Customers: Six million

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 86 litres

A spokesperson said: “We have no hosepipe bans currently in place across our region, and we’re working hard to keep it that way. But we’re watching river levels very closely right now, as things can change quickly and the forecast for this month remains dry and warm.”

– Welsh Water (Dwr Cymru)

Area: most of Wales and parts of Western England on the border with Wales

Customers: Three million

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 116 litres

The company introduced a hosepipe ban for customers in the region of Pembrokeshire and a small part of Carmarthenshire on Tuesday.

The temporary use ban will be in place “until we have had enough rain to replenish our water resources”.

– Hafren Dyfrdwy

Area: north-east and mid-Wales

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 134 litres

The water provider does not currently have any restrictions in place, but has not ruled out implementing “joint policies” along with the Welsh government should the situation with the dry weather worsen.

A spokesperson said: “Whilst we don’t have any concerns about raw water position for Hafren Dyfrdwy, we continue to monitor the situation and are a part of the Welsh Government’s Taskforce, working closely with them to create joint policies and processes in the event of drought action.”

– Northumbrian Water

Customers: 2.7 million

Area: Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and parts of North Yorkshire

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 110 litres

The website says that there are “no plans in place to implement any drought measures such as hosepipe bans,” but adds that it is “good practice” to use water wisely.

– Severn Trent Water

Area: From the Bristol Channel to the Humber and from mid-Wales to the East Midlands

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 112 litres

The region covered by Severn Trent Water currently has no hosepipe bans in place.

However, the company said it will continue to monitor reservoir levels and demand for water “closely”, as it does every year, for any changes.

– South West Water

Area: Devon, Cornwall, parts of Dorset and Somerset

Customers: 1.7 million

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 118 litres

South West water customers are at risk of “formal restrictions” being introduced over the coming weeks.

The company announced on August 3 that it may have to make the “difficult decision” to introduce restrictions, “if the exceptional levels of demand and sustained dry weather continues”.

– Southern Water

Area: The south-west of England, including Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, most of Wiltshire and parts of Gloucestershire and Hampshire

Customers: 2.5 million

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 87 litres

A hosepipe ban has been in place for customers in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight since August 5.

The company has applied for a Drought Permit on the River Test from the Environment Agency to allow them to continue to “take water if levels continue to drop”.

– Thames Water

Area: London and the Thames Valley

Customers: 15 million

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 161 litres

Thames Water has said that they are planning to issue a hosepipe ban in the coming weeks “given the long term forecast” of hot and dry weather for the region.

They added: “The timing is not confirmed due to a number of operational and legal procedural requirements but we will be updating our customers, partners, regulators and stakeholders at the earliest time to ensure a coordinated approach.

“In the meantime we continue to urge our customers to only use what they need for their essential use.”

– United Utilities Water

Area: The North West in a region from Crewe to Carlisle

Customers: More than three million

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 130 litres

A company spokesperson told PA news agency that they were “not considering any restrictions on use” of water at present, but did encourage customers to use water wisely.

– Wessex Water

Area: the South West including Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, and parts of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Hampshire

Customers: 2.8 million

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 111 litres

No hosepipe bans are planned by Wessex Water, but the company does warn that reservoir and groundwater levels are low, and urges customers to “use water responsibly”.

– Yorkshire Water

Area: West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire, part of North Lincolnshire, most of North Yorkshire and part of Derbyshire

Customers: More than five million

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 130 litres

A spokesperson said: “We haven’t applied for any drought orders or implemented Temporary Usage Bans (TUBs) – they do both form part of our drought plan and so they are tools that we could call on if/when we need to.”

– Affinity Water

Area: Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey and other parts of the South East

Customers: 3.83 million

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 120 litres

Parts of the South East covered by Affinity Water are “unlikely” to see any hosepipe ban this year.

The company’s website says: “At current levels, it’s unlikely we’ll need to introduce restrictions this year.”

– Bristol Water

Area: Bristol city, north east Somerset and south Gloucestershire

Customers: More than 500,000

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 69 litres

At the end of July, the company said: “We will continue to monitor the situation, but with our current water resource outlook, we do not foresee any issues in supply to customers.”

– Portsmouth Water

Area: Portsmouth and the surrounding area

Customers: 698,000

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 79 litres

Despite Southern Water issuing a temporary usage ban for nearby Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Water reassured customers on Twitter on Tuesday that “there is no hosepipe ban in the Portsmouth Water area of supply”.

They added: “But please, please, please use water responsibly! We’re all in this together.”

– South East Water

Area: the south-east of England, including Eastbourne, Maidenhead and North Kent

Customers: 2.2 million

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 99 litres

A hosepipe ban will come into force on Friday for customers in Kent and Sussex.

The company announced: “We have been left with no choice but to restrict the use of hosepipes and sprinklers from 00.01 on Friday August 12 within our Kent and Sussex supply area until further notice.”

– South Staffs Water

Area: West Midlands, South Staffordshire, South Derbyshire, North Warwickshire and North Worcestershire

Customers: 1.3 million

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 111 litres

Head of water strategy and environment Natalie Akroyd said: “With the recent hot weather and less-than-average rainfall for this time of year, we continue to monitor our water resources and encourage our customers to use water wisely

“We currently don’t have any plans in place to introduce hosepipe bans.”

– SES Water

Area: parts of Surrey, Kent and south London

Customers: 745,000

Leakage per property per day in 2020-2021: 82 litres

SES Water said: “While some of the neighbouring water companies have announced hose pipe bans, we are not yet at that stage.

“We will of course keep the need for any restrictions under close review for the rest of the summer period, however this will depend on the rate of decline of our groundwater and reservoir sources, and the level of customer demand.”

– Scottish Water

A Scottish Water spokesperson told PA that there were no plans for water usage restrictions in Scotland.

They added: “We are monitoring and managing our water resources and, in some instances, reservoirs are being topped up from alternative water sources to ensure supply resilience for customers.”

– Northern Ireland Water

A spokesperson for Northern Ireland Water said: “The amount of water in our impounding reservoirs is kept under continuous review and we are content with our current level of storage. However, it is imperative that customers continue to use water wisely, especially given the forecast for the next number of days.”

“At this point in time, NI Water is not introducing a hosepipe ban. The situation is however being closely monitored and if storage reduces significantly or demand became excessive, NI Water would have to consider the possibility of putting in place measures in order to protect water supplies.

Water leakage information was compiled by the information dashboard Discover Water, and is based on information agreed by water companies, the water regulators, the UK and Welsh Governments and the Consumer Council for Water.

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