United Utilities has announced today that a hosepipe ban will be put in force in Lancashire as reservoir water levels dip.
The ban, which comes in to forces on Sunday, August 5, will affect seven million customers in the North West of England.
It comes as water levels in the county dip to dangerous levels, including Wayoh Reservoir, near Bolton, which is almost completely empty.
Martin Padley, United Utilities water services director, said: “Despite some recent rainfall, reservoir levels are still lower than we would expect at this time of year and, with forecasters predicting a return to hot dry weather for the rest of July, we are now at a point where we will need to impose some temporary restrictions on customers.
“It is not a decision we have taken lightly and we are enormously grateful to customers for having helped reduce the demand on our network over the last couple of weeks, but unless we get a period of sustained rainfall before August 5 these restrictions will help us safeguard essential water supplies for longer.”
The ban will apply to domestic customers who get their water supply from United Utilities and restricts the use of hosepipes or sprinklers for watering private gardens and washing private cars.
Customers will still be able to water their gardens with a watering can and wash their vehicles using a bucket and sponge as this uses a fraction of the amount of water a hosepipe or sprinkler uses.
According to the firm a hosepipe uses 540 litres an hour, as much as a family of four would use in one day, while a sprinkler left running overnight uses as much water as a family of four would use in one week.
A hosepipe ban can reduce water usage by 5-10 per cent, according to research by United Kingdom Water Industry Research, which in the North West would amount to over 100 million litres per day.
United Utilities said the ban was alongside the company’s efforts to maintain essential supplies, including maximising water abstraction from ground water supplies, moving water around its regional integrated network of pipes and running a campaign to encourage customers to use water wisely.
Customers can find out whether they are in an area affected by the ban, and get more information on water saving tips, by entering their postcode into the search facility at www.unitedutilities.com