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Study shows increase in water waste since lockdown began in North East England

  • Study shows increase in water waste since lockdown began in North East England

About the entity

Northumbrian Water
Northumbrian Water Limited is a water company in the UK, providing mains water and sewerage services in the English counties of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and parts of North Yorkshire, and also supplying water as Essex and Suffolk Water.

New research has shown that people in the North East are using up to 29 litres more water per person a day since lockdown began - which is the equivalent of 31 Olympic-sized swimming pools per day across the region.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, household consumption of water has risen due to the ‘Stay at Home' messaging, Northumbrian Water studies have shown.

While vital handwashing has contributed to a small portion of increased demand, the water company says that the largest factors have been as a result of garden water use, self-care baths and extra cups of teas - and key workers have kept the water flowing to ensure that communities can use these comforts to get through the struggles of lockdown.

However, as restrictions are starting to ease across the UK, Northumbrian Water are now encouraging people to take some simple steps to try and cut back on their water usage in order to protect the environment and reduce carbon footprints.

Tim Wagstaff, Lead Efficiency Manager at Northumbrian Water, said: "We completely understand why the demand for water has increased over the past 12 months, and we empathise that additional usage for comforting baths and extra cups of tea has been necessary to get us through this difficult period.

"However, as we transition into the new normal, we want to encourage customers to be more mindful of our water usage in order to protect our environment."

Before lockdown, on average, people would have spent around eight hours in the office, children would have been at school and people may have eaten out for our tea.

During the pandemic, there have been hundreds of extra kettles being filled, and dishes being done after every meal - which would have happened in workplaces, schools, gyms and cafes rather than at home on a larger scale.

With a gloriously sunny stretch during the May bank holidays, and paddling pools and hot tubs selling out across the region, Northumbrian Water saw a record level of demand - even higher than the dry summer of 2018.

Tim added: "Obviously it's really important that we all continue to follow the Government's advice on frequent handwashing in the interest of public safety, which is why we are asking that people reduce the way they use water in different ways.

"By making small changes to our daily routine, such as turning off the tap when you're brushing your teeth, or by keeping your shower to under four minutes, we can really help to protect our water.

"It's things that you wouldn't usually think twice about, but can make a significant impact on your usage - keeping your water bill down too."

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