THE first hosepipe ban in Northamptonshire for more than 20 years looks almost certain to be imposed.
Anglian Water has unveiled an £8 million plan to pump more water into the county from Cambridgeshire, but this is unlikely to be enough to prevent the ban.
A spokesman for the firm said: “It’s looking increasingly likely we will need to impose restrictions of some sort.
“We are still very much looking to the skies in the vain hope of rainfall because we are still just about in the ‘recharge period’.”
During the autumn and winter reservoirs are expected to fill up during the wetter period.
However, 18 months of below average rainfall has prevented the River Nene from topping up Pitsford Reservoir.
The reservoir is only about 60 per cent full – which is some 20 per cent below where it should be for the time of year.
In response to the problems, Anglian Water is applying to build two new booster pumping stations aimed specifically to deal with the drought.
One will be in Northampton Road, Wellingborough, and another in Bedfordshire.
They will pump millions of litres of treated drinking water into Northamptonshire from Grafham Water.
Steve Swan from Anglian Water’s special projects team said the Cambridgeshire reservoir was five per cent fuller than normal for the time of year.
He said: “Grafham Water supplies up to 320 million litres a day, with up to 80 million litres currently sent to serve parts of Northamptonshire. This scheme will add to that, relieving the pressure on Pitsford Reservoir.”
Nicholas Warliker, the Evening Telegraph’s gardening expert, said: “I think a hosepipe ban will make it quite difficult for many gardeners but also I think it will enforce the importance of water conservation. There are lots of things you can do to save water.”
He added: “It’s not going to become a Sahara Desert throughout Northamptonshire, I think, but it is something you do need to be careful of. If you can, wean plants off watering rather than suddenly stopping it completely – that’s going to be the art of doing it.”
Motorist Jason Yates, 41, of Oakley Vale, Corby, said: “I think people will be worried when we are faced with hosepipe bans. They are not really thinking about it yet, but once the warmer weather comes and people need to wash their cars or fill up paddling pools for kids they will start moaning.”
Anglian Water urged residents to conserve water. Mr Swan added: “That doesn’t mean going without, but it does mean adapting your behaviour – taking shorter showers, only using washing machines when full, not leaving taps running and finding alternatives to the hosepipe when watering your garden or cleaning the car.”
Residents can request a free water meter to be fitted by calling 08457 919155.
Wellingborough Council is expected to reach a decision on the planning application by the end of March.