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Big rise in water usage since coronavirus lockdown

PUBLISHED: 16:30 02 June 2020

Anglian Water wants to see brown grass at the moment. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Anglian Water wants to see brown grass at the moment. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

A large rise in water usage during the coronavirus lockdown has sparked a warning from Anglian Water about managing supplies in the weeks and months ahead.

The amount of water used by households between March and the start of June was up to 20% higher than is normal for this type of the year.

This is partly because people have been spending more time at home during the lockdown – but the fact we have had the driest and sunniest spring since Victorian times has also contributed to the concerns.

People have been running down their water butts and using watering cans to keep newly-planted flowers alive in parched gardens.

This is partly because people have been spending more time at home during the lockdown – but the fact we have had the driest and sunniest spring since Victorian times has also contributed to the concerns.

The company said a wet winter means its water suppllies are in a “good condition”, with reservoirs 90% full. Cooler temperatures over the coming days are also set to lessen demand.

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But latest data shows Anglian Water pumped an additional 200million litres of water to homes across the East of England on some of the warmest days during May.

The increase is roughly 20% more than normal for this time of year – similar to the levels reached during the middle of the 2018 summer heatwave.

Director of water services Paul Valleley said: “Since lockdown began, we have seen an increase in the demand for water as people wash their hands more, stay hydrated and use more for DIY in their homes and gardens.

“On average, water use has risen by between five and 10% since lockdown began, but we’ve seen peaks of up to 20% which is unprecedented for this time of year.

“As key workers our engineers have been working hard throughout lockdown to keep taps running and toilets flushing. The risk, if we continue to see peak demand levels like these is that only so much water we can treat and put into the network at any one time. If everyone draws on that supply at the same time, we could see water pressures dip, meaning it can’t flow from the taps so freely.

“After a wet winter our water supplies are in a good position with reservoirs 90% full and groundwater levels healthy. The cooler temperatures forecast later this week will give our reserves some reprieve, but we need help from our customers to continually manage their usage while we’re all still at home.

“That’s why we’re asking people to use the water they need to stay hydrated and healthy, but please think carefully about discretionary use and reuse water wherever possible, to help us keep taps running this summer.”

Anglian Water provides more than four million customers with drinking water across the East of England, supplying on average a billion litres of water a day to homes and businesses. The water comes from a combination of groundwater sources and surface water reservoirs.


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