A hosepipe ban is about to come into force in the North West of England, a water company has announced, affecting millions of people, as the hot, dry weather lingers on.
United Utilities has announced it will bring in a Temporary Use Ban from Sunday 5 August for domestic customers in areas it covers, including parts of Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cumbria, Lancashire and Cheshire – with a few exceptions.
The news comes amid what is thought to be the longest heatwave since 1976 and will affect around seven million people.
The news follows bans already in place across Northern Ireland put in place by NI Water.
Now people in areas covered by United Utilities will be banned from using hosepipes or sprinklers to water private gardens and wash their cars.
The company has been running a campaign for some time to try and encourage people to use less water but have now reached a point where a hosepipe ban is needed.
Martin Padley, United Utilities water services director, said: “Despite some recent rainfall, reservoir levels are still lower than we would expect at this time of year and, with forecasters predicting a return to hot dry weather for the rest of July, we are now at a point where we will need to impose some temporary restrictions on customers.
“It is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we are enormously grateful to customers for having helped reduce the demand on our network over the last couple of weeks, but unless we get a period of sustained rainfall before August 5 these restrictions will help us safeguard essential water supplies for longer.”
The company has also been using other methods to try to preserve water, such as maximising water abstraction from ground water supplies and moving water around its regional integrated network of pipes.
United Kingdom Water Industry Research found a hosepipe ban can reduce water usage by 5 to 10 per cent, so the amount of water saved in the North West could be more than 100 million litres per day.
People will still be able to wash cars with a bucket and sponge, and use a watering can to water their garden. The water company said these methods use only a fraction as much water.