By KLTV Newsdesk –
Today Yorkshire Water announced it will introduce a hosepipe ban from August 26 due to some areas seeing the lowest rainfall since records began more than 130 years ago.
This comes as the Government today announced that parts of southern, central, and eastern England had officially moved into drought status after a prolonged period of hot and dry weather.
This triggers pre-agreed drought plans for those affected areas to help protect water supplies.
While this has not been announced here in West Yorkshire, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYRFS) says the need to limit water usage is still paramount.
According to Yorkshire Water, rivers are running low and its reservoirs are significantly lower than expected for this time of year, as England suffers its driest July since 1935.
Parts of England and Wales are also now in the middle of a four-day “extreme heat” alert.
The local ban means no hosepipes to be used to water gardens and flowers; or fill up pools and paddling pools.
Cleaning driveways and other areas using hosepipes or pressure washers will also be banned.
While emergency services can be exempt from such bans, due to the nature of their job, WYFRS has stepped up to ensure no water is wasted on its watch.
Firefighters across West Yorkshire have postponed charity car washes and will be reducing usage on their stations as they play their part to conserve water.
‘Reduce Where Possible’
Scott Donegan, WYFRS Area Manager for Service Delivery, said: “With another spell of hot weather upon us we are issuing advice to all staff, plus sharing information from Yorkshire Water and other partners.
“We are asking all operational staff to reduce water usage where possible, by doing dry drills at training and exercising events.
“We will also only wash fleet vehicles and fire engines once a week during normal routines if needed.”
The service often puts on car washing events for the public to raise funds for charity. These will be postponed until later in the year.
“These charity events are a great way of us earning cash for charities, but it stands to reason we can’t do this now,” added AM Donegan.
“Such activities are to be postponed until later in the year when stocks have recovered.
“These are low-impact changes that will not cause any issues for us but will save thousands of litres of water.
“Acting responsibility now will help ensure that water is available when needed when we respond to emergencies.”
Staff are also being urged to follow suit outside of work, to further reduce water usage.
What is covered by a hosepipe ban?
Activities covered by the hosepipe ban include:
- Watering a garden using a hosepipe
- Cleaning vehicles or boats using a hosepipe
- Watering plants with a hosepipe
- Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool
- Drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use
- Cleaning walls or windows of domestic premises using a hosepipe
- Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
- Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe
People can still undertake the above activities without using a hosepipe if they use tap water from a bucket or watering can; or use water that is not sourced from taps such as grey water, rainwater from a water butt, or a private borehole, for example.
Businesses will be allowed to use a hosepipe if it is directly related to a commercial purpose.
There are restrictions on using a hosepipe if not for those essential commercial needs – so using a hosepipe to clean a path outside a business property, for example, would not be allowed.
Blue badge holders, those on Yorkshire Water’s Priority Services register or WaterSure tariff for medical reasons, are also excluded from the ban.
The ban will come into effect next Friday, August 26.
Yorkshire Water has been working to balance water stocks through its region-wide grid system and reduce water lost from leaky pipes.
Neil Dewis, Yorkshire Water’s director of water, added: “We’ve been doing everything we can to avoid putting in restrictions but unfortunately, they’re now necessary as part of our drought planning.
“We’re grateful to our customers, who have been saving water where they can this summer. It is important that we all continue to do so, to help protect our water resources and the environment.
“We’ve been monitoring reservoir levels, weather forecasts and other environmental indicators closely to determine whether we might need to put further measures in place.
“As we’ve now reached that trigger point, we need to make sure that we have enough supply for the essential needs of people across the region this year and next, as well as making sure we’re able to protect our local environment by limiting the amount of water we have to draw from the rivers.
Mr Dewis added that the decision to introduce the hosepipe ban is based on the potential risk of further warm weather reducing water stocks even more in the coming weeks, and protecting the long-term health of the rivers themselves.
“Having a hosepipe ban in place also allows us to apply for drought permits from the Environment Agency, which means we can abstract more water from our rivers and reduce flows out of our reservoirs so that we can continue to provide the water our customers rely on us for.”