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North West hosepipe ban announcedSubscribe to our news feed

United Utilities has been granted permission by the Environment Agency to impose a hosepipe ban in the Northwest and source extra water to help boost dwindling reservoir levels.

The hosepipe ban announced in July 2010 is the first in the Northwest for 14 years. It will take effect from 6am this Friday, 9 July, and is expected to help stem rising demand for water due to the warm, dry weather.

The new restrictions will apply to all Northwest customers apart from those in Carlisle, Allerdale, Copeland and the north Eden Valley, where supplies are at reasonable levels.

Business use is not affected but the ban covers hosepipes and sprinklers used for watering private gardens and washing private cars. Customers will need to use watering cans or buckets and sponges, to limit the amount of water being used and help maintain supplies for the whole community.

United Utilities, the water company serving the Northwest, is urging all businesses, households and communities to use their water supplies wisely and minimise wastage.

‘Temporary restrictions’

John Sanders, water regulation and strategy manager at United Utilities, said: "Despite some recent rainfall in the north of the region, reservoir levels are still significantly lower than we would expect… and we are now at a point where we need to impose some temporary restrictions on our customers.
"It is not a decision we have taken lightly, but a hosepipe can use as much water in an hour as a family of four would use in one day.  This ban will help us to safeguard essential water supplies to our customers if the drought continues."

Much of western Britain has experienced below average rainfall in 2010 and the Northwest has experienced its driest start to the year since records began 74 years ago. Many reservoirs at less than 60 per cent of full capacity and May and June both saw less than half the long-term average rainfall levels.

United Utilities has already introduced a number of drought measures, including maximising water sourcing from ground water supplies and moving water around its regionally integrated network of pipes to maintain essential supplies.

Last month the Environment Agency granted an initial drought permit to the company which allowed extra water to be taken from Ennerdale Water, despite low lake levels. Further permit applications for other sources in the Northwest are now being made.

Posted 8 July 2010