Householders urged to use water wisely

HOUSEHOLDERS in East Anglia are being urged to use water wisely to avoid problems with supply at peak times.It was the hottest day in the region for six years yesterdayas temperatures soared to 88F (31C).

HOUSEHOLDERS in East Anglia are being urged to use water wisely to avoid problems with supply at peak times.

It was the hottest day in the region for six years yesterday

as temperatures soared to 88F (31C).

The hot spell, which forecasters believe will end today, has lasted eight days with temperatures 18F above the average for mid July.

Anglian Water said that resources in reservoirs and underground were currently good due to several wet winters.

But the supply system was under strain at the end of the working day during hot weather when many people returned home to switch on garden sprinklers.

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"We are currently experiencing a huge rise in demand and this could lead to low pressure in some areas," said Sara Rowland, the water company's spokeswoman.

In some areas demand was rising by 50% at peak times.

"We would urge people not to use sprinklers in the sunshine because up to 90% of the water evaporates and it is far better to wait until the evening," Ms Rowland said.

"Sprinklers use as much water in one hour as a family of four will use in a week," she added.

The Environment Agency also called for restraint in the use of water, for gardens, paddling pools and clothes washing, to keep the taps running and help wildlife dependent on a watery habitat.

"Balancing supply and demand in the summer months can be a precarious business, but everyone can do his or her bit to protect the environment," said spokesman, Dave Gallagher.

"We're certainly not saying that people should not be having fun with water in the summer months or that they should not use what they need. But there are lots of things that we can do to stop wasting this precious resource," he added.

Simple steps in the home and garden recommended by the agency include:

nwashing vegetables and fruit in a bowl rather than under the tap and using the leftover water for house plants

n keeping a bottle or jug of water in the fridge instead of running taps until the water runs cold

n making sure that washing machines and dishwashers are full before switching them on

n reducing the amount of clean water flushing down the toilet by inserting a displacement device in the cistern

n watering plants in the early morning or evening to reduce evaporation losses and

n installing a rainwater butt for garden watering.

The Environment Agency said that the hot weather in June and July had not yet had any detrimental impact on river levels. Neither had it caused problems with the growth of algal blooms.

Ken Blowers, EADT weatherman, said temperatures would drop to about 77F (25C) today and warned to there would be thundery showers over the next couples of days.

That will be in contrast to yesterday, when the mercury hit levels not seen since August 12, 1997.

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