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Heatwave vs. Water Efficiency

Aug 06, 2018

With the hot temperatures remaining high across the country, UK residents continue to both enjoy and complain about weather conditions, trying to keep cool in any way possible. But we must be mindful of the additional implications the heatwave carries with it, and a decreased water supply is certainly one of them.

Unlike with gas and electricity, heatwaves do not affect water price for customers. This is because water is not traded on commodity markets, and wholesale prices are instead controlled by Ofwat. In the South East we are ‘fortunate’ to have had a very wet January to March which has led to us still having respectable levels. Southern Water have reported on 4 reservoirs and their levels, 3 of them reaching over 75%. In contrast, reporting on the Northern areas, United Utilities have confirmed that 6 of their reservoir levels are below 70%, with their lowest at 42.4%, increasing the likelihood of a hosepipe ban.

Hosepipe Ban

The heatwave has already sparked concern over implementing another hosepipe ban, and although Northern Ireland is the only area that already has this in place, temperatures continue to spread across the UK which creates concern over UK water supply. To ensure healthy resource and avoid supply interruptions, UK residents must work together and look at the quick wins in becoming more water efficient;

• Switch taps off while brushing your teeth.

• Fill the kettle for only the amount of hot drinks required.

• Avoid using hosepipes to clean your cars (replace with a bucket and sponge).

• Shorten your shower time and avoid running baths. 

We spoke to LASER’s Water Services Manager, Matt Hull about conserving water during heatwaves such as this;

“One of the main uses of water when the mercury rises and there’s little rainfall is watering gardens, as hosepipes use around 17 litres of water a minute! One of water wholesaler’s most effective measures to conserve water levels is enforcing hosepipe bans.” 

For those gardeners out there, never fear! Although a ban could be on the cards, this doesn’t restrict you from watering your plants. It simply means that you’ll need to water them the old fashioned way using a watering can, resulting in a much more water efficient solution. 

Business savings

If you’re an organisation looking to further reduce energy costs during the summer, there are ways to improve your water efficiency further;

• With the schools now closed for the summer holiday, it may be a good idea to turn off automatic flushes on urinals. This can conserve a huge amount of water while nobody is in the building.

• If you’re a school closing for the summer, take a meter reading at the beginning of the holiday and another on your return. If there is a large amount of water being consumed despite nobody being on site, there may be a leak resulting in unnecessarily large water bills.

• Fitting aerators to your taps helps control the amount of water that flows through the tap without affecting the water pressure by mixing the water with air. 

• Replacing existing taps with water saving taps can reduce the amount of dripping. Incorporate push taps or automatic touch sensor taps to reduce wastage.

Lumina’s sister company, LASER has a Water Bureau service which helps you with the validation, monitoring and reporting of your consumption. This provides the information to achieve water savings and identify leaks and alerts you to spikes in consumption. An example of savings achieved through this service can be seen in their Water Bureau Case Study found here.

For more information about Water and the services LASER could offer you, please contact their Water Services Manager or download the Water Factsheet here.