Taps run dry as hot weather and lockdown lead to spike in water use

Emma Gatten
Water companies have urged people to practice caution

A surge in water use as a result of the hot, dry weather and the lockdown has left some areas of the country with empty taps. 

Water companies have seen demand rise 25 per cent more than average for the time of year, up to 40 per cent at peak evening times as families switch on their garden sprinklers.

Severn Trent has had to supply bottled water to some households in Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire as it struggled to meet demand. 

England has just seen its driest May on record, leaving grass parched, while the lockdown has meant more families are at home tending to their gardens, washing up and using paddling pools at the same time. 

Water companies say they have enough supplies in their reservoirs after a particularly wet winter, but have been unable to pump quickly enough to keep taps flowing at peak times. 

The government and water companies have asked British people to save water as much as they can, while continuing to wash their hands.

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They have recommended taking shorter showers, making sure the dishwasher is full and on an eco-setting before running it through, and reusing paddling pool water on the flowerbeds.

“The hot spell just means it’s good to think about how we can all be aware of the water we’re using and work together to use it wisely. If we can smooth demand across the day, that’s better for everyone,” said industry body Water UK. 

The Environment Agency has warned that the country could run out of water within 25 years, and called for a 20 per cent cut in domestic water use.