Wessex Water, the Bath-based water supply and sewerage company, saw an unprecedented demand for water last month due to more people being at home and using extra water in the garden.
Demand peaked during the driest May on record in England when people watered their gardens more frequently, with sprinklers on lawns a major contributor to the surge in demand.
Wessex Water said that hot tubs, which have increased in sales by 1,000% during lockdown, were another factor in the huge May water usage figures.
Such was the demand during the final week in May that the company’s operational staff had to work extended hours around the clock to manage the water network, ensuring customers continued to have a reliable supply.
Ashlea Lane, director of water production, said: “We weren’t running out of water, but getting it through our pipes quickly enough was challenging when demand was at its highest.
“May was exceptionally dry and warm. During peak times we were putting an extra 85 million litres of water into the network just to keep up with demand.
“We noticed that water was being used at unusual times of the day, typically peaking between 6pm and 10pm as people made the most of lighter evenings outside.
“And there’s no doubt that the Covid-19 lockdown had an effect too, with more people being at home and spending a greater amount of time in their gardens.”
While there is no water shortage or plans for a hosepipe ban in the Wessex Water region, the company is reminding customers that a few simple steps in the home and garden can make a big difference in ensuring demand is met across the region and more water is left in the environment.
With hot weather returning this week, Wessex Water is asking customers to help by:
- Not watering lawns – grass will spring back again when it rains.
- Re-using paddling pool and washing up water on gardens.
- Watering plants in the morning, not the evening, using a watering can.
“We certainly don’t want to stop people having fun or enjoying their gardens, but filling the paddling pool with a couple of inches less water or simply using a water can on your plants makes a big difference,” Ashlea said.
Like all water companies, Wessex Water has long-term plans in place to make sure there is enough water for homes and businesses and local rivers and wildlife are protected.
Leakage has halved on its network since the mid-1990s and the company has invested £230 million in a water supply grid, enabling water to be moved around the region to where it’s needed most.
For more information and advice on how to use water wisely, visit wessexwater.co.uk/savingwater.