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Highest ever demand for water recorded in the Thames Valley during driest ever May

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  • Highest ever demand for water recorded in the Thames Valley during driest ever May

About the entity

Thames Water
Every day, we serve 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley.
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Thames Water’s key workers are appealing to everyone to make every drop count as demand for water across parts of the Thames Valley soared by a record 158 million litres per day this week.

A combination of hot weather and people observing lockdown means water use across Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Surrey, and Buckinghamshire has reached unprecedented levels as hoses are untangled to fill paddling pools and water plants.

On Bank Holiday Monday alone the company pumped an extra 63 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water through its network in the Thames Valley – around a third more than normal. This brought the total volume supplied in just one day to 758 million litres, the equivalent of 300 swimming pools.

Thames Water says that following one of the wettest winters on record it currently has a good amount of water stored in its reservoirs. However, at peak times on hot days, customers in some areas are using water faster than it can be safely treated and pumped through the underground network of pipes to homes. The current record demand for water will also inevitably reduce reservoir levels quicker than normal, as is already being seen in other parts of the country.

Andrew Tucker, water efficiency manager at Thames Water, said: “Increased temperatures mean increased demand for our water, which stresses our network’s ability to produce it fast enough and accelerates the draw on rivers and underground aquifers.

"Making every drop count inside and outside our homes by taking shorter showers, turning off sprinklers and reusing water where possible, means we can all help keep taps flowing in our communities so everyone can still have access to water for the essentials like hand washing and staying hydrated. With millions of homes using more water every day, being water efficient in the garden and inside the home will really help us ensure there’s enough to go around.”

Thames Water’s top water saving tips are:

  • Don’t fill paddling pools to the brim and, when kids and pets have finished playing in them, use the water to give thirsty plants a drink
  • Use a bucket to wash the car and a watering can to water plants instead of hoses or sprinklers which use a whole week’s worth of water in just one hour
  • Lawns are water hungry. Letting them go brown is ok. Established lawns, even if brown, will bounce back as soon as it rains again so there’s no need to water them
  • Showers normally make up around 25 per cent of an average household’s water usage. Simple reductions in shower time can have a massive impact on overall usage. If a family of four reduce their showers by one minute each they’d save 11,648 litres of water a year
  • Find and fix any leaks in your home including taps and toilets. One in 20 homes has a constantly flowing toilet which uses up to 400 litres of water per day, Literally water and money down the pan!
  • Fill a spray bottle with water and spritz it over your face and body for a quick cool down. This uses way less water than showering or spraying yourself and others with the hosepipe
  • Storing a jug of tap water down in the fridge is a great way to keep it cold and refreshing. Alternatively, pop some ice cubes in your drink which will help lower its temperature. Both are better than leaving the tap running for ages to get some cool water

To save more water, Thames Water’s key workers have also been working around the clock to reduce the amount being lost through leaks and have installed new equipment at a number of its water treatments sites to increase the speed at which they can treat water and pump it to customer taps.

Andrew added: “Using less water at home and reducing leakage means we can leave more for nature in our rivers and reservoirs, and give essential underground sources a chance to recover, reducing the risk of shortages in the future.”