As I am sure that many of you are aware, South East Water has introduced a temporary hosepipe ban. There is no set end date, South East Water have said they will be reviewing the situation every 7 days. I will be sure to share any updates I receive with you.
Following on from my work in ensuring the resilience of the local water supply in recent months, I will continue the conversation with South East Water and Ofwat. I aim to ensure that all necessary works are quickly implemented so that constituents are able to rely on the local water system, whatever the circumstances.
Please see below an email update from South East Water that I received earlier today:
Over the last few weeks, there has been an increasing number of warm days, with little rainfall. Last weekend saw the hottest days of the year so far, which led to an exceptional increase in the demand for water.
Typically we supply 540 million litres of water a day during summertime, which is already increased from the usual demand across the rest of the year. Last weekend, demand peaked at 678 million litres of water, a phenomenal 138 million litres of extra water to supply, and has remained above 631 million litres a day, ever since.
We also experienced site power outages during electrical storms, which affected the use of equipment used to treat water to the standard safe enough for you to drink, however, we do now have every available water treatment works and water source, open and running fully.
Despite this and the efforts we made to prepare for summer, such as increasing the number of storage tanks for clean water and replacing valves, flow meters and installing new pipes so we can move water around more easily, among other measures, it has not been enough for us to keep up with demand.
We have asked our customers to only use water for essential purposes, and we would like to thank all of those who did reduce their overall water use. Unfortunately, it has not been enough to reduce demand to a typical level.
Therefore, we have been left with no choice but to restrict the use of hosepipes and sprinklers in Kent and Sussex until further notice - this is also referred to as a Temporary Usage Ban or TUBs.
We are taking this action to ensure we have enough water for both essential uses and to protect the environment.
This means that all domestic household customers, unless exempt, are not authorised to use a hosepipe or sprinkler at their homes. If they are exempt, they will receive an email or letter to confirm this. We’re aware there are a number of leaks on the network, we’re working hard to fix these, and are prioritising the most urgent leaks.
Hot weather causes the ground to crack so pipes move and burst causing leaks. We have increased our efforts this summer, and there are more resources in the field using innovative technologies to find and fix leaks. These restrictions are indefinite but the situation will be reviewed every seven days to determine when we can remove these restrictions.
I am sure you will understand that this decision has not been taken lightly. For more information on the temporary hosepipe ban, restrictions and exemptions, please visit our website.