Severn Trent customers using record levels of water as company puts extra 3bn litres into the network

Wednesday 11th July 2018

Having come through flaming June, we’re now into an even hotter July which means that water consumption has spiked to reach levels a whopping third more than normal.

With no sign of rain, and with June being the driest on record in some areas, Severn Trent is calling on people to think long and hard about how they use what is becoming an ever-more precious resource. 

Doug Clarke, Severn Trent’s top water efficiency boffin, said: “No rain means more people using sprinklers and hosepipes to water their gardens, and that means demand is spiking for treated water at a time when it’s much better used for drinking, washing and flushing toilets. 

“It might not feel like it but you really can leave the garden to get on with it – we’ve only got so much treated water we can pump out of our treatment works and get through our pipes and we just need people to think about what they’d rather use it for – a shower or a sprinkler.” 

In fact, since the hot weather started two weeks ago, the company’s treatment works have pumped out an extra three billion litres of water, the equivalent of:

  • 2.5 billion people having their recommended daily intake of liquid;
  • 220 million people flushing the toilet;
  • 48 million people having a four minute shower; or
  • 1,200 Olympic-sized swimming pools being filled simultaneously. 

“The continued hot weather means we’re seeing a massive increase in water demand across our area,” said Doug. 

“Our engineers are working round the clock to make sure our customers are getting essential supplies of drinking water and we’re pumping an extra 300 million litres in to supply every day. 

“Although there’s raw water in our reservoirs, this needs to be treated and, on top of that, our pipes are currently distributing as much as they can. But this isn’t about the amount of water we have in our reservoirs, it’s about the speed with which the treated drinking water is being used.  

“On Sunday we saw everyone use an extra 100 litres of water, over and above normal consumption levels, which is the equivalent of every man, woman and child we serve drinking an extra 200 pints of water in one day. 

“So what we really need people to do is to realise that it’s better to use treated water for drinking, washing and for flushing the toilet and not for watering the garden or washing the car.” 

With the heatwave set to continue into the week ahead, Severn Trent is giving everyone some essential tips to help prioritise their water usage and balance out supply and demand:

  • Put your garden sprinkler away – a sprinkler can use as much as 1,000 litres of drinking water in just one hour – the equivalent of 13 bath tubs!
  • Shave a minute off your shower – you’ll save a minimum of 20 litres and you’ll get back out into the sunshine quicker;
  • Avoid washing your car, but if you have to, use a bucket and sponge rather than a hose and you’ll use 50 times less drinking water.

Doug explains further: “We really need everyone’s help. If we could all reduce our water consumption by 30 litres per person a day, it would make a massive difference.”