With May’s weather being exceptionally dry (the Chilterns received just 5% of average rainfall in the month), groundwater levels and rivers flows are declining quickly. Lockdown measures put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many people are working from home instead of commuting into London and so water use has increased significantly areas surrounding the city, such as the Chilterns. To meet this additional demand, Affinity Water are treating and pumping additional water into the network, bringing in water from other areas and building up capacity. Indeed, in recent weeks, Affinity has put an additional 108million litres of water a day into its network, the equivalent of supplying an additional 400,000 customers.
With more hot, dry weather on the way and demand forecast to rise still further, Affinity Water is asking its customers to help reduce demand to make sure there is plenty of water for the essentials such as drinking, washing and cooking and also to help leave as much water in the Chiltern’s precious chalk streams and wetlands, as possible.
Allen Beechey of the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project explained, “It has been great to see the Chilterns’ chalk streams recover from the drought last year and they have looked magnificent so far this summer, but this situation can change very quickly. Extended periods of dry weather and high water usage can combine to rapidly drain these rare habitats dry. In the Chilterns, we have the highest per capita domestic water use in the UK. Much of this water is pumped from the chalk aquifer by water companies to supply us, so the more we use the less is left to flow in our chalk streams. We are not facing a drought yet, but that situation could soon change and so it is vitally important that we all try to conserve this precious resource, both for us and for our chalk streams.”
Ways in which everyone can help to reduce water demand include:
- Avoid using sprinklers and hosepipes – which can save an incredible 1,000 litres an hour!
- Only use the dishwasher and washing machine when they’re full – we are all at home creating more dishes so turning the dishwasher on only when its full can make a huge difference
- Turning off the tap every time you brush your teeth saves around six litres a minute.
- While waiting for tap water to get hot, collect the water in a bowl and use it to water the garden.
- Use washing up water to water your plants (washing up liquid will do no harm to your plants)
- Keep your shower to 4 minutes.
For more information see here
More water saving tips here