People in Bath are being thanked for using water responsibly during the dry weather over the summer, which has prevented the need for a local hosepipe ban.
Wessex Water is encouraging households to keep up the good work, even now that temperatures are cooling, because rivers and wildlife need protection.
The Bath-based water and sewerage firm currently spends £30 million a year, more than a fifth of its annual water supply expenditure, on detecting and fixing 1,200 leaks every month.
Paul Saynor, head of water resources and supply strategy at Wessex Water, said: “The combination of people opting for water meters so they can monitor their usage and the 30% reduction in leakage over the last 20 years has put us in a strong position this summer, despite a 12% increase in population since 2000.
“Groundwater and reservoir levels are lower than average at the moment, but we are not near the record low levels of 1976, which was the last time Wessex Water had a hosepipe ban.
“We’re very grateful to customers for doing their bit to help each other and the environment and urge everyone to keep making the effort to reduce their ‘water footprint’ in case the dry weather continues through the autumn and winter.”
Groundwater, which is more resilient against dry weather, makes up approximately 75% of Wessex Water’s sources of water, with the other 25% stored in reservoirs.
This contrasts with many other regions of the UK where water is sourced mainly from reservoirs.
Between 2010 and 2018, Wessex Water invested £230 million in building a water supply grid, which allows water to be transferred to where it’s needed most whilst also reducing the need for abstraction in sensitive areas.
To help maintain healthy river flows and protect wildlife, it also pumps water from deep underground into rivers as part of its Stream Support initiative.
Ruth Barden, director of environmental solutions at Wessex Water, said: “Every day we’re keeping our local rivers and streams ‘topped up’ with 90 million litres of water that we’re able to pump up from our groundwater sources.
“If everyone continues to work with us and save water where possible, we can keep our rivers flowing and our wildlife healthy.”