Northamptonshire's demand for water hits mid-summer heatwave levels during lockdown heatwave

Anglian Water asks customers to use wisely to avoid shortages later in the year

By Kevin Nicholls
Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 1:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 1:26 pm

Northamptonshire's water consumption is hitting levels seen during the 2018 heatwave following a record-breaking spring.

Anglian Water pumped in an extra 200million litres on some of the hottest days to keep pace with demand from customers drinking more during the hot weather and washing their hands more to keep Covid-19 at bay.

This increase equates to every customer drinking an extra 80 cups of tea a day!

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And the company which supplies all of Northants' water warns people need to start watching how much they use to avoid the risk of shortages later in the year.

Anglian's director of water Services, Paul Valleley said: “Since lockdown began in March, 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 ten per cent since lockdown began, but we’ve seen peaks of up to 20 per cent — 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.

Northamptonshire's water usage rose 20 per cent during May. Photo Getty Images

"If we continue to see peak demand levels like these, the risk is that we can only treat and put so much water 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 per cent 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.”

Pitsford Reservoir supplies around 50 per cent of Northampton's water. Photo Getty Images

Met Office experts revealed Northamptonshire has been the driest county in the country during May and there has been no significant rain here since April 30.

Forecasts for tomorrow predict the possibility of "a few showers" in parts of the county which would add a little to Pitsford Reservoir, where around 50 per cent of the county's water is stored.

Anglian Water posted a video on its YouTube channel and information on its website with advice on saving water.

Top tips include reusing water from baths and washing up in the garden, or giving the car-wash a miss.

And knocking just one minute off your shower can save around ten litres of water.