Suffolk: Call to save water now as hosepipe ban comes into force

SUFFOLK: From tomorrow, a hosepipe ban will be put in place in the region for the first time in 20 years.

Two dry winters and more than 18 months of below-average rainfall has culminated in the driest six months since records began in 1921. Rivers, aquifers and reservoirs, including Alton Water, have been drained of precious supplies of water.

The ban has prompted the region’s largest water-saving drive, with consumers urged to take responsibility for reducing their own usage, and help share those dwindling supplies until the rain returns.

Although it is due to rain today with more showers expected next week, an Environment Agency spokeswoman said it would have to rain everyday for a month to make any slight difference.

Anglian Water has now launched its Drop 20 campaign, which explains simple, practical steps that people can take to reduce their daily personal use by 20 litres, from the current regional average of 145 litres per person, to 125 litres.

It is only a small amount – about two bucketfuls – but if every individual plays their part it could have a staggering combined impact by reducing the needs of the region by up to 10pc, or 120 million litres every day.

Peter Simpson, managing director of Anglian Water, said: “The fact is that it simply has not rained anywhere near enough.

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“Two dry winters have prevented rivers, reservoirs and aquifers from refilling with the water we treat and supply during the rest of the year, especially during the hotter months when demand rises.

“We cannot know how much rain the rest of the year will bring and that’s why we believe a domestic hosepipe ban now is the most sensible and responsible action to take to help safeguard customer supplies for this year, next year and beyond.”

He added: “We believe our customers understand the need for this restriction and will observe it, as well as doing what they can to save water in their daily lives.

“The water saved through the ban, through our own efforts and through the Drop 20 Campaign, will be water that’s available for us in the months to come.

“It will also take some of the pressure off the environment we get our water from – the region’s rivers and wetlands and the wildlife that relies on them.

“We know some of our customers will find this ban difficult and we are very grateful for their co-operation. The last thing we want to do is impose restrictions but the drought is too serious to ignore.”

Simple advice on saving water in the home and garden includes washing dishes by hand rather than using a dishwasher (saving 15 litres), spending two minutes less in the shower (saving 16 litres) or using a water butt to recycle rain to water your garden (saving 200 litres).

Household and garden water-saving kits will also be available through the Anglian Water website.

Breaching a hosepipe ban is an offence under the Water Industry Act and can carry a fine of up to �1,000.

Anglian Water spokesman Antony Innes said: “If someone does see their neighbour using a hosepipe, and if they have a good relationship with them, they should just have that conversation with them to ask if they are aware of the ban.

“If our staff see someone doing it, they will act exactly the same way.

“We are not looking to catch people out. We want to work with our customers, because we are all in this together.”

The Environment Agency is anticipating “a severe drought in spring and summer” in East Anglia. Only a prolonged, widespread deluge of above-average rain will replenish groundwater and reservoir supplies, but the Met Office has warned the chances of that are “very low in the forecast”.

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