Despite the recent rainfall, groundwater levels are low and we are in drought within the Central Affinity Water region which covers Hertfordshire, west Essex and parts of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, North London and Surrey. This means that temporary restrictions may need to be imposed on customers in this area from Spring 2020.
If you are a business customer located in this region this post provides information on what has contributed to the drought, what restrictions may be implemented in early 2020 and what you can do to make your business more resilient to drought.
What’s contributed to the drought?
The population has grown by around 30,000 people each year for the last 10 years. These additional people mean that we are using an extra 45 million litres of water every day.
The population is expected to increase by a further 12% by 2020, and 50% by 2080. It means around an extra 1.6 million people living in this region.
Changing weather patterns are becoming more difficult to predict. The World Meteorological Organisation has said 2015 – 2018 saw the four warmest years on record.
By 2080, climate change is likely to reduce water by 39 million litres per day from current levels – that’s more than 250,000 homes currently use every day!
What water restrictions could look like
After three years of lower than average rainfall, the prospect of another dry winter means we could be facing low water levels in the new year.
All water companies have a Drought Management Plan, which they agree with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It sets out how they will respond to drought: how they manage water for you, what action they will take and when they will take it.
We are in drought and in an effort to conserve water Affinity Water may need to consider implementing temporary use ban restrictions (TUBs) for customers living in their Central region, restricting the use of water for certain activities for household and non-household customers. Restrictions may include:
- watering a ‘garden’ using a hosepipe (the term ‘garden’ covers things like parks, verges, sports pitches and allotments)
- 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
- using a hosepipe for domestic recreational use
- filling or maintaining a domestic pond using a hosepipe; and
- filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain
- cleaning walls, or windows, of domestic premises using a hosepipe
- cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe or jetwash
- cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces such as astroturf using a hosepipe
You can read more about restrictions here.
What can my business do to help?
It is important that we all conserve water and only use it when needed. This means that we should be fixing leaks and turning off taps when we are not using them. Beyond this we should all be looking at ways we can use less water when we do use it. Easy things to do include adding flush saver devices to toilets so less water is wasted during flushing; adding controls to urinals so that water isn’t being used when it’s not needed and restricting the flow of taps and showers to around 4 and 8 litres per minute (or less).
You can read some tips on how your business can save water here.
How can Affinity for Business help?
Companies like Affinity for Business offer water audits which highlight ways businesses can save water. For larger companies, and those with sustainability programmes, this might also include recommendations for longer-term projects such as rainwater harvesting, greywater use, wastewater heat recovery and replacement of inefficient bathroom facilities.
Our water efficiency review is carried out by researching your previous water bills and consumption information (including water consumption data if available) and a comprehensive site visit to measure how water is being used.
Our water efficiency review will provide you with an easy-to-understand report with tailored recommendations on how you can save water including estimated costs, savings and payback times. We can also provide follow-up support for putting measures in place to reduce, and measure, your ongoing water use.
You can read more about our water efficiency and sustainability services here.