Drought now affecting half the country


drought (Photo credit: iamleeg)

In the wake of the announcement of the first parts of the country to be declared in drought, and the introduction of the hosepipe ban earlier this month, further drought zones have been designated in another 17 counties. The Environment Agency has extended its drought map to include the Midlands and the South West of England.

Despite the recent welcome rainfall, drought restrictions could remain in place until at least Christmas in what is likely to be the driest year in the UK since 1976. It is therefore essential that we all take steps to use water wisely. Drain Doctor would like to reiterate some water-saving tips we published recently:

  • Use a bowl in the sink when washing fruit, vegetables or dishes. You can then use the waste water to water your plants.
  • Fill a jug of water and put it in the fridge for when you want a cool drink.
  • Turn off the tap when you clean your teeth. A running tap uses up to nine litres of water a minute.
  • Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine or your dishwasher. Some new washing machines use less than seven litres of water for each kilogramme of clothes, while modern dishwashers can use as little as 10 to 15 litres of water a cycle.
  • If possible, take a shower instead of a bath. A five-minute shower uses about 40 litres of water. This is about half the volume of a standard bath.
  • Use a water-saving device in your toilet cistern. Depending on the size of your cistern, you could save between one and three litres each time you flush the toilet.
  • Using a watering can in the garden instead of a sprinkler or a hosepipe. Garden sprinklers and hosepipes left running can use between 500 and 1,000 litres of water an hour.
  • Think about fitting a water-butt to collect rainwater off your roof. Water butts usually store about 200 litres of water. As well as being better for watering your plants, using rainwater in the garden reduces the amount of treated water you use.
  • Check your property regularly for leaks on your internal plumbing.

Also, don’t forget to follow OFWAT’s advice on hosepipe useage:

Watering of private gardens and washing of private motor cars with a hosepipe or sprinkler is prohibited during a hosepipe ban.

  • You can wash cars or water gardens using buckets and/or watering cans.
  • Commercial activities are generally not affected by hosepipe bans. However, a gardener or window cleaner must not use a hosepipe or sprinkler connected to a customer’s private supply.

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