Thames Water lifts hosepipe ban
Thames Water is today (8am, 18 Jan 2007) lifting the hosepipe and sprinkler ban in force across its supply region since April 2006.
The decision, which has been taken in consultation with the Environment Agency, follows four months of above-average rainfall (September 2006 to December 2006), which have eased immediate concerns about water resources following the record drought that began in November 2004.
But the company is asking customers to stick with water-saving tips that helped avoid the need for more severe restrictions in the region last summer. Meanwhile, Thames Water continues its drive to reduce leakage, particularly in London.
Richard Aylard, External Affairs & Environment Director at Thames Water, said: "The good news is that the recent wet weather has allowed us to fill our reservoirs.
"It has taken some time for the rain to seep down into underground aquifers that keep rivers and reservoirs topped up during the spring and the summer, but groundwater levels throughout the catchment are also rising and are expected to have generally recovered to at least near-normal levels by February.
"This all means that keeping the hosepipe ban in place is no longer justified.
"We regretted having to impose the ban, our first in 15 years, but given the severity of the drought, a cautious approach was needed to keep taps flowing without harming the environment by taking extra water from rivers.
"Our customers responded very positively to our appeals to use water wisely. Demand fell by as much as ten per cent, even at the peak of the heatwave in July.
"We remain extremely grateful for their help. Combined with the hosepipe ban, it helped ensure that we could maintain essential supplies throughout last year, despite the two previous very dry winters.
"But we do need to ask all our eight million customers to keep saving water wherever they can. Amazingly enough, London receives less rain than Rome, Dallas or Istanbul, so we need everybody to make water saving a part of their everyday lives, all year round. Population growth and climate change add to the need for us all to use water wisely.
"Thames Water remains focused on reducing London's unacceptably high leakage rates. Currently, for example, our rolling programme to replace the capital's oldest, leakiest mains is moving into new areas of the City and the West End, as well as south of the river in Croydon. Many of the pipes are over 150 years old, dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria.
"This ambitious project, started in 2002, will see us replace over 1100 miles (1800 km) of the cast iron Victorian pipes with more flexible plastic ones by 2010. This is expected to deliver savings of over 140 million litres a day.
"Crucially, the work allows us to install a more efficient, streamlined network than the maze of pipes that has evolved over many decades.
"Together with ongoing work to find and fix leaks elsewhere in the network, our total investment to bring leakage down is over £500,000 every day."
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