The Environment Agency has just issued their Spring Update entitled “Drought prospects for this summer - spring update May 2006” available
This update warns that there was a real risk of standpipes being introduced later this year
In my area in Kent Southern Water have applied for a drought order. Their website makes some practical suggestions on how we can save water
Recommendations include showering instead of bathing, not leaving the tap running while brushing teeth and tips for the garden including collecting rainwater in a water butt and use this to top up your pond or water your garden, using bio-degradable crystals as they reduce the need for watering, resting lawn mower blades to 4cm to encourage dense growth which traps early morning dew and reduces evaporation; allowing grass clippings to remain on the lawn every third mow and using mulch to help retain moisture.
Whilst all of this is of course something I think we each have a responsibility to implement (not only in periods of drought) the responsibility of the water companies and the leaking pipes needs to be addressed. In an article in The Times on Tuesday it was stated that
Water companies, businesses and householders were urged to make a greater effort to conserve supplies, but Thames Water was singled out for criticism by the Environment Agency, which remains unhappy at the amount of water squandered to leaks. Of the 2,700 million litres (594 million gallons) it pumps into supplies each day, 900 million leak away.
Whilst my own water company state they have taken action to address the issue of leaking pipes, was amazed recently to hear of a Southern Water customer who had taken out the companies’ protection for emergency leaks, whose cold tap broke and gallons of water were pumping down the drain. On phoning the water company she was told this was not an emergency as property was not being ruined and therefore they would not send out anyone to fix the tap. You would have thought as a PR exercise alone they would have treated this more appropriately given the application for a drought order.