Hosepipe bans come to an end

July 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm

After a summer of record rainfall across Britain, the last four water companies to have their hosepipe bans in place have finally lifted them, confirming that the drought is officially over – for this summer at least.

From now on, six million more water customers will be able to use their hosepipes as normal, bringing relief to many who had been struggling with the restrictions.

South East Water, Veolia Water Central, Veolia Water Southeast and Sutton and East Surrey Water are the final four water companies to lift their bans, which came into force back in April following two abnormally dry winters.

But since then record rainfall across the UK has meant that underground resources have been recharged, which is a rare occurrence at this time of the year, and the restrictions can be eased.

Since the bans came into force we have experienced our wettest April since records began in the UK, and double the normal amount of rain fell in June. Indeed, many areas have now been affected by flooding in recent weeks caused by the torrential rain, shifting the focus away from the drought.

The other water companies to impose bans in April – Southern Water, Anglian Water and Thames Water – lifted them back in June.

The lifting of the final four bans was a surprise to many in the industry who thought that they would stay in place all the way through the summer.

But despite the lifting of the bans, people are still being urged to use their water very carefully. Another dry winter could cause serious problems again and lead to another drought next summer, with the prospect of yet more hosepipe bans.

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Call for greater protection for England’s water supply

July 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

A commons select committee has just announced that more action is needed – and fast – if we are to protect the water resources of England.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee, which was chaired by Anne McIntosh, said that more ambitious targets were needed to encourage a greater number of households to install water meters.

As well as improving targets for water meters, the select committee also said that new reforms which control how water is extracted from rivers should be sped up because some rivers are already drying up.

The committee released its conclusions after analysing the government’s white paper on the issue of the UK’s water use over the coming years in the face of population growth and climate change.

Many parts of England have been affected badly by drought this year, and the large water suppliers have only just brought their hosepipe bans to an end. However, at the same time severe rainfall across the country has led to serious flooding.

As well as suggesting clearer targets for water meters, another area which it said needed urgent attention was greater pressure to encourage all customers to pay their bills. Currently, customers who do not pay their bills are adding an extra £15 to every household’s water bill each year.

However, water minister Richard Benyon said in response to the report that he did not believe a “one-size-fits-all solution is the best way forward”, and instead said that “companies should work with their customers to find the solution that works best in their local area”.

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