Severn Trent appeals to everyone to help with saving water as it sees highest demand for water in history across the Midlands in the driest May for a century

1st June 2020

New figures for the Severn Trent region produced by weather forecasting and analysis company Weatherquest have shown some areas in the Midlands received just 1mm of rain in May – that’s about a third the thickness of a pound coin¹.

On average, the central and southern parts of the Midlands received just 5-10% of their normal May rainfall. There are also some areas where there was rain on just one day in the entire month.
That’s led to loads of people using sprinklers to keep their lawns green and plants blooming, with the higher than average temperatures also seeing people using pressure washers to clean their cars, and getting the paddling pools out to keep their kids happy.
Add in to that the fact that loads of people are at home due to the COVID outbreak and the extended period of hot weather, has led to the highest ever demand for treated water seen in Severn Trent’s history.
While the company’s reservoirs remain 85% full of raw water, the challenge is treating and pumping it out fast enough to meet demand. Severn Trent’s treatment works are working flat out and producing and pumping out a staggering 2.3 billion litres of treated water each and every day. That’s 95 million litres every hour of the day and more than Severn Trent has ever put into supply on any day in its 30 year history!
On average, people are using 20% more water than normal, compared to a normal May, and some areas are using as much as 40% more. That means some areas, scattered across the Midlands, are seeing poor pressure and even loss of supply in evenings as the pipes can’t carry water fast enough to meet the unprecedented demand.
So to make sure water supplies are secure for friends, neighbours and the most vulnerable people in our communities, Severn Trent is appealing to people to take a few simple steps to be a bit more water wise when they’re using treated water from the tap. Supplies would be better saved for washing, drinking and cooking, especially at the moment.
Liv Garfield, CEO at Severn Trent, said: “We’re seeing the highest demand we’ve ever seen in our history at the moment.
“Our treatment works are already working at maximum and our pipes are carrying treated water as fast as they can to everyone, but the huge spike in demand means we’re seeing poor pressures in some areas as people use it up as fast as we can get it to them.
“We know everyone’s enjoying the sunny weather, but we’re appealing for them to cut back on non-essential use, especially outside, where they can over the next week. That’ll really help us keep up and make sure everyone gets the water they need for handwashing, cooking and drinking.”
Some of the things that use the most water are:

  • A hose/sprinkler uses around 1,000 litres an hour
  • A paddling pool holds 400 litres, which is roughly the same as three people’s average daily usage
  • Jet washers use 36 litres a minute

Notes to editors
¹ =
Region                        Where                            May rainfall                May highest temperature
Central                       Winterbourne                   4.6mm                       25.6C
Derbyshire                 Cotton-in-the-Elms        1.4mm                        26.2C
Leicestershire          Market Bosworth              4.4mm                       25.7C
Nottinghamshire      Sutton Bonington            3.2mm                         26.7C
Shropshire                Newport                            7.8mm                        25.9C
Staffordshire            Keele                                28.6mm                        24.5C
Warwickshire           Church Lawford                1.2mm                        26.3C
Worcestershire        Pershore                            1mm                           26.1C
Gloucestershire       Winchcombe                    5.6mm                         25.3C