East of England’s demand for water reaches midsummer heatwave levels during lockdown

01 June 2020


Water company asks customers to be water wise even when temperatures dip.


The latest data from Anglian Water shows the water company pumped an additional 200 million litres of water to homes across the East on some of the warmest days during May.


During one of the driest Springs on record, and with millions of homes on lockdown for the last two months, the increase is roughly 20 percent more than normal for this time of year – similar to the levels reached during the middle of the 2018 summer heatwave.


The water company provides over four million customers with drinking water across the East of England, supplying on average a billion litres of water a day to homes and businesses. The water comes from a combination of groundwater sources and surface water reservoirs.


Director of Water Services for Anglian Water, Paul Valleley said: “Since lockdown began, we have seen an increase in the demand for water as people wash their hands more, stay hydrated and use more for DIY in their homes and gardens.


“On average water use has risen by between five and 10 per cent since lockdown began, but we’ve seen peaks of up to 20 percent which is unprecedented for this time of year.”


This increase equates to every customer drinking roughly an additional 80 cups of tea a day, or taking an extra four-minute shower.


Paul continued: “As key workers our engineers have been working hard throughout lockdown to keep taps running and toilets flushing. The risk, if we continue to see peak demand levels like these is that only so much water we can treat and put into the network at any one time. If everyone draws on that supply at the same time, we could see water pressures dip, meaning it can’t flow from the taps so freely.


“After a wet winter our water supplies are in a good position with reservoirs 90% full and groundwater levels healthy. The cooler temperatures forecast later this week will give our reserves some reprieve, but we need help from our customers to continually manage their usage while we’re all still at home.


“That’s why we’re asking people to use the water they need to stay hydrated and healthy, but please think carefully about discretionary use and reuse water wherever possible, to help us keep taps running this summer.”


Anglian’s Top Water Saving tips:

Reuse your water wherever possible:

  • If you can’t save the paddling pool for another day, make sure you use the water on the garden before reaching for the hose.
  • Use your bath or washing up water to top up your water butt to use on your plants.
  • Collect water in a bucket from when you first turn the shower and you’re waiting for it to warm up, use this to water plants, flowers and hanging baskets; 

Or quite simply:

  • Give the car wash a miss – a dusty car means you’re doing your bit for the environment
  • Learn to love your brown lawn. Turn off the sprinkler, the grass will soon bounce back when it rains.
  • Knocking just one minute off your shower can save around 10 litres of water.