As of 13 March, Veolia Water will be applying for a Temporary Use Ban, which will come into effect from 5 April 2012. This means all domestic customers in the Veolia Water area will have restricted use of a hosepipe* to help conserve water.
Veolia Water's Water Resources Manager, Mike Pocock, said:
"We have had less than 60% of average rainfall this Autumn and Winter, which has been compounded by low rainfall in the previous year. Little of this rainfall has made its way through the soil and into the underground aquifer (a natural underground reservoir), which is where we take the majority of our water.
"Asking our customers to restrict their water use this summer is a tough call, but the situation is showing no sign of improving and we must act now to ensure that everyone is prepared.
"By putting restrictions in place we aim to emphasise the situation and appeal to our customers to work with us to reduce their water use. If we all make small changes to reduce our water-use it can make a big difference," added Mike.
Veolia Water has been working hard to keep on top of leakage and has saved an extra 10% off its regulator set target.
"In 2011 we invested £30m in leakage alone. This has enabled us to be more effective in repairing leaks and managing our network," added Mike.
Veolia Water takes its responsibility to the environment very seriously and is in regular dialog with the Environment Agency and local river associations.
Howard Davidson, Environment Agency South East Regional Director said: "We will continue to work with water companies to meet the challenges of a continued drought. We will be watching to ensure water companies follow their drought plans, and expect them to demonstrate they are doing everything possible to reduce water demand including stepping up their publicity campaigns.
"The Environment Agency's role is to balance the water needs of people, businesses and the environment. Using water efficiently will help to ensure we all have enough water for our homes, to produce food, products and services, and to protect our valuable natural environment and wildlife."
Veolia Water is offering all its customers free water saving devices to help reduce water use. Not only can this save money on metered water use, it could also save money on energy bills too. Water saving advice and devices can be ordered at www.veoliawater.co.uk/savewater
For up to date information on the drought visit www.veoliawater.co.uk/drought from Tuesday 13 March.
Notes to Editors:
Temporary Use Bans are imposed by a water supplier under Section 76 of the Water Industry Act 1991.
The Temporary Use Ban replaced the previous hosepipe ban 1945 legislation and has a much wider scope of restrictions that can be controlled by water companies. In all, 11 categories of use are specified within section 76(2) of the WIA 1991 (as amended by section 36 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (FWMA 2010); the categories of water use that are prohibited are:
watering a garden using a hosepipe;
cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe;
watering plants on domestic or other non-commercial premises using a hosepipe;
cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe;
filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool;
drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use;
filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe;
filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain;
cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe;
cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe; and
cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe.
Customers have from 13 to 29th March to make representations to Veolia Water in writing or via the website at www.veoliawater.co.uk/drought
People found breaching the terms of the ban risk being prosecuted and fined up to £1,000
Tips on how to save water
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth - this can save 6 litres of water
Using washing machines and dishwasher when you have full loads
Take a short shower instead of bath - this can save up to 60 litres of water
Fit a water butt in your garden to harvest any rainwater
Order your free water saving devices and get lots more advice here: www.veoliawater.co.uk/savewater
Veolia Water Central takes 60% of its water supply from under-ground aquifers (a natural underground reservoir). The remaining 40% of water supplies come from surface water sources: the River Thames and the Grafham Water reservoir.
Under-ground water aquifers are replenished with rainfall between October and March.
Rainfall during spring and summer months tends to be absorbed by natural vegetation or it evaporates - very rarely does rainfall in this period replenish underground sources.
Rainfall during autumn 2010/winter 2011was 65% of long-term average
Rainfall during autumn 2011 was only 44% of long-term average
Rainfall during autumn 2011 and winter 2012 so far, is 60% of long-term average.
Veolia Water is on track to meet its leakage target set by its regulator, Ofwat. The company has more recently seen as much 10 per cent in additional savings off the target.
Veolia Water Central is the UK's largest water supply only company and is part of Veolia Water UK. We are committed to delivering a high quality water service to all our customers. We provide 870 million litres of water each day to a population of 3 million people, in parts of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey, the London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon and parts of the London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, and Enfield. Our supply area covers a total of 3,700 square kilometres, stretching from Luton and Royston in the north to Guildford in the south, and from Berkhamsted in the west to Dunmow in the east.
For more information visit www.veoliawater.co.uk/central or follow us on www.twitter.com/veoliawateruk.