United Utilities calls off hosepipe ban across the North West
The planned hosepipe ban in the North West has been called off, water chiefs said today.
United Utilities said the slightly cooler temperatures and recent rainfall had eased the demand for water.
Together with customers’ water saving efforts, it means UU does not need to introduce any restrictions at this time.
Dr Martin Padley, Water Services Director, said: “We would like to thank all of our customers who have helped in recent weeks by saving water wherever they can around the home and in the garden."
The ban had been due to come in this Sunday, and experts had predicted it could last until October.
United Utilities had blamed the exceptionally hot and dry summer for the planned ban, but the announcement sparked a backlash from customers complaining about leaks not being fixed in a timely manner.
Dr Padley added: “Our leakage teams are working 24 hours a day to find and repair as many leaks as possible and we have been moving water around our network. We have also been making operational interventions such as installation of new pumping stations, pumping between reservoirs, bringing ground water sources into use and prioritising maintenance to help ensure supplies have not been interrupted during the prolonged hot spell.
“Given the improved position, helped by recent rainfall, we do not want to inconvenience customers unnecessarily at this time. However, the long range forecast from the Met Office is one of relatively dry weather into the autumn, so future restrictions are still a possibility if more rain doesn’t arrive.
“In the meantime, we are continuing to step up our own response and over the coming weeks you will see our teams out and about, bringing additional water supplies on line and fixing even more leaks. We are working closely with the Environment Agency in monitoring the water resources situation and we still urge our customers to please help us by using water wisely where they can.”
Robert Light, Northern Chair for the Consumer Council for Water, said: “Consumers deserve great credit for the way they’ve responded to the call to use water wisely and we welcome United Utilities’ decision not to press ahead with restrictions and the inconvenience this would have caused households – but we’re not out of the woods yet.”
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“With more hot weather forecast, we’d encourage consumers to keep using water wisely and there should be no let up from United Utilities in its efforts to reduce the amount of water being wasted through leaks.”
There had been anger in some quarters about the prospect of a hosepipe ban when UU was reportedly not tackling massive water leaks.
Residents of Lowther Crescent, Leyland, contacted UU on Tuesday to complain about a leak - which was finally mended last night.
Resident Siobhan Holt said: "It was bubbling out of the drain and flowing down the road. It flooded at least two gardens, What annoyed us was that we were watching this pouring out when a hosepipe ban was on the way."
Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer, said: “Today’s news from United Utilities will be a relief for millions of customers in the North West.
“But rather than leaving customers praying for rain, United Utilities must now invest and fix their infrastructure which leads to 175 Olympic size swimming pools of treated water being lost each day.
“Unfortunately, past behaviour over the last 29 years suggests that private water companies are more than happy to accept fines from Ofwat rather than make the necessary investment in our water infrastructure to stop leaks.
"The bosses of England's privatised water companies must sit up and take note of the public reaction to hose pipe bans while they make huge profits, pay their CEOs a fortune and have failed to sufficiently invest in our water infrastructure as promised. ”