Water, one of the most crucial commodities in the world, is facing supply issues across the country as the government continues to impose lockdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Adding to the increased demand for water is the record-high dry weather across the country with the spring season being unseasonably sunny this year. Several water companies and Waterwise, a campaign group, have collectively called on people to join the ‘Save Water’ campaign to prevent a shortage of the commodity.
Households today have increased demand for water, which recently jumped to as much as 25% above the usual usage. Records show that there have been severe peaks in water usage during the evening amid the lockdown. Experts chalk it up to the hot weather and more people abiding by the stay-at-home order.
Suppliers have been urging their domestic customers to monitor how much water they’re using at home and evaluate whether they are using their supply wisely. Across the UK, water companies are handing out tailored advice to guide consumers in taking advantage of water-saving opportunities.
Christine McGourty, Water UK CEO, reminded people to be aware of how they use water amid the bright and lovely weather. She believes that if demand is managed throughout the day, the water supply would be made available to everyone. She emphasized that using less water at peak times can lessen the supply being ‘under pressure’.
Waterwise managing director Nicci Russel pointed out how every individual has a role in saving water. Campaign group Waterwise, along with Water UK, have collaborated to deliver advice to consumers on reducing water use while keeping hydrated and healthy.
Water companies across the county have witnessed significant spikes in water demand from households in the face of the pandemic, especially at night. The average increase is 20%, with several areas across the country peaking as much as 40% above typical water use at this time of the year.
In the UK, the increase is marked at 2.2 billion litres every day, which can fill 900 Olympic-size pools. Households with gardens have generally upped their water consumption due to the sunny weather and with more people staying at home finding things to do in their gardens.
Water supply issues have recently impacted residents from the South East, South West, and the Midlands, with a few consumers saying they have been left without water for days. In the Midlands, around 2,000 homes have faced difficulties with their water supply, particularly at Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire.
Severn Trent Water has set up bottled water stations across the areas where supply has become problematic. The firm reported that its reservoirs were filled up to 85% but struggled with treating and pumping water out fast to meet demand.
The firm encouraged consumers to stop using pressure washers and sprinklers to make sure that water is still available for handwashing.
South East Water urged people in Sussex, Berkshire, Kent, Surrey, and Hampshire to stop watering the lawn and reducing sprinkler use to help in restoring a healthy supply of water for everyone to access.
Water companies have sent out guides and advice on conserving water to ensure that water supply is maintained amid the growing usage and consecutive dry days.
Waterwise has made a shower playlist on Spotify to help keep showers short and efficient. Some companies are urging people to refrain from washing their car frequently, or watering the garden and wait for the rain instead.
For people who love to exercise, taking a bath right after a session rather than showering before and after leads to significant savings in water consumption.
People are also advised to top-up their paddling pool rather than refilling it daily. The used water from paddling pools can also be further utilised to water grass and plants, helping to lessen the high water usage and produce less waste water.
When showering, turning the shower off in between washing, shampooing, and conditioning, can help save up a few litres of water as well.