Published on 24 - June - 2010
Is the UK facing another hosepipe ban?As country sees its driest start to the year in nearly 50 years, a water company is considering imposing a hosepipe ban in the north-west of England.
United Utlities has stated that it will this week apply to the Environment Agency for a drought permit. If granted, the permit will allow the water company to continue to take water from Ennerdale Water in West Cumbria as it reaches lower levels.
Currently the company is allowed to take water supplies from Ennerdale Water, as long as its overflow level does not fall below 1.35m. However, the firm explained that a hosepipe ban would need to be imposed if there was insufficient rainfall over the next few weeks.
United Utilities Water regulation and strategy manager John Sanders said: "It's been an unprecedented period of dry weather since December 2009, and we need to take action now so we can tap into available water resources if the dry weather continues."
The drought permit application will involve a legal process, said Mr Saunders, which will allow locals to voice their opinions before the Environment Agency makes its decision.
Met Office figures reveal that rainfall across the UK for the first five months of 2010 averaged at 318.99mm, compared with the long-term average of 424.1mm. As a result, the UK is currently experiencing the driest start to the year since 1964, when an average of 307.99mm was recorded.
To help combat this, United Utilities is advising people to play their part and use conserve water where possible, although a hosepipe ban may still be unavoidable in the area.
"Now more than ever we need people to use water wisely. We're monitoring the situation day by day, but if we don't have any significant rainfall by the end of this month we will need a hosepipe ban to help conserve essential supplies."
"Of course we need to balance the needs of our customers with the needs of our environment. By using water wisely we can all help to maintain supplies and keep rivers flowing."
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