Hosepipe ban now ‘a real possibility’

Rutland Water today as Anglian water plan to introduce a hosepipe ban due to a lack of rainfall
Rutland Water today as Anglian water plan to introduce a hosepipe ban due to a lack of rainfall

FEARS of a hosepipe ban for Anglian Water customers are already being voiced due to yet another winter of under average rainfall.

Levels at Rutland Water reservoir, pictured above, are now lower than they were at this time of year in 1990 when the water company last had to impose a hosepipe ban.

The reservoir can hold almost 112.8 billion litres but at the last measuring the water levels were at just 69.6 percent of their capacity when expected levels for this time of year should be approximately 95 percent.

Anglian Water communication executive Antony Innes said: “A hosepipe ban is becoming a very real possibility. We can’t rule out anything at this stage because of the lack of water.

“In the last one and a half years, month on month rainfall has been under average most months and when we have had rain it has been at the wrong time, coming in the summer when a lot of water is lost through evaporation.”

According to the Environmental Agency Rutland and Lincolnshire have been in drought conditions since June, 2011, getting a third less rainfall than the national average of 559.1cm a year.

Antony said: “We haven’t had significant rainfall during the autumn and winter for two years now.

The winter is normally a recharge period when reserves are stockpiled to last through the warmer months, however, the lack of rain has prevented this.

The rain that does fall is not draining into the reservoir because the soil moisture deficit is currently 80mm, meaning at least that much rain needs to fall before the ground stops soaking it up.

Antony added: “We are working as hard as possible to do everything we can to make the best of our resources, like reducing leakage, and our customers are doing their part as well. But there is only so much that can be done.”

The Water Company supplies 20 percent more homes than it did in 1990 but through a series of improvements has managed to maintain the level of water required.

Measures such as the installation of water meters in the homes of nearly 70 percent of Anglian Water customers have helped reduce water usage. Customers with meters use on average 10 to 15 percent less water.

To help alleviate the low levels in the reservoir caused by the dry winter Anglian Water gained a drought permit in November which allows it to drain extra water from the River Nene.

This measure, which has been sanctioned by the Environmental Agency until the end of March, is on target to meet Anglian Water’s target for the precaution but reserves remain short.