United Utilities Water Update

Below is United Utilities statement on water supplies across the North West.

I am writing to update you on the water resource situation across the North West, in light of the prolonged hot temperatures and the long-term forecast of the continued dry weather.

We have seen some rain in parts of the North West over the last few days, although it is currently proving insufficient to improve storage levels across the region. We have had some success in reducing demand through our extensive campaign appealing to customers to use water more wisely during the hot, dry period and the recent rainfall has helped this situation. Demand over the last few days has fallen to around 200 megalitres per day above the seasonal norm from the 500 megalitres per day at its peak. The forecast is for more unsettled weather than we have seen over recent months but, whilst satisfying demand is now much less of a challenge, we remain concerned about the raw water resources picture for the region.

Today we will be starting the implementation of arrangements leading to a Temporary Use Ban (TUB), traditionally called a hosepipe ban. Having crossed drought trigger 3 at Haweswater (and we expect to cross drought trigger 2 for Ennerdale today) we will now begin preparations for a TUB. This will involve notifying customers of the date a ban would come into effect, unless there is a significant change in the weather, and to allow those customers who believe that they may be exempt from a ban to have opportunity to make representations. If the prolonged dry period continues then the ban will come into force from Sunday 5 August and will apply to primarily domestic customers  who get their water supply from United Utilities, with the exception of customers in Carlisle and the north Eden Valley, where supplies remain at reasonable levels.

We are using our integrated water supply network to move water around the region and we are managing resources carefully by maximising production of water from the south of the region and using more boreholes. This allows us to move water across to the Greater Manchester area, reducing the demand on Haweswater and Thirlmere. Our water pipeline from Liverpool to Manchester gives us this flexibility.

As you might imagine, behind the scenes we are working exceptionally hard. We are ramping up our leak response and have around 50% more leak repair teams operating throughout the region.  We are continuing with our proactive programme of rural trunk mains inspections, pressure management, and maximising production at treatment works.

As you might expect, we continue to take all action available to us to mitigate the situation but we are very much at the mercy of the weather. For more information on the hosepipe ban and what activities are affected please see www.unitedutilities.com