Firm urges customers in Uttlesford to save water following ‘dry winter’
PUBLISHED: 07:51 19 January 2018
A water supplier is asking customers in Uttlesford to monitor their usage to help reduce the likelihood of restrictions later in the year.
Affinity Water, which supplies to hundreds of homes in the Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow areas, says below average rainfall over the last few months has meant groundwater stores have not replenished as much as had been expected.
The firm is asking customers to save water now in an effort to prevent possible restrictions in the summer, when rainfall is likely to be less frequent.
A spokesman for Affinity said: “Following a dry winter in 2016/17, our groundwater resources remained below average for the whole of last year.
“Over the last three months, a little over 50 per cent of the long-term average rainfall has meant that groundwater supplies, which are used to supply water, are now low.”
Aquifers - porous rock where groundwater is stored - fill up from rainfall during autumn and winter, when there is less plant growth and evaporation. October to March is a key period when rainfall is expected to reach the aquifers, which are used for 60 per cent of household supplies.
The spokesman said: “Even with the wet December, recharge of the aquifers was, in some areas, only 24 per cent of the long-term average. This is because the soil was so dry, following below average rainfall in October and November, that most of the water did not reach the aquifer.”
The firm has said that rainfall will need to be significantly above average in January, February and March to reduce the likelihood of water restrictions later this year.
As well as Essex, Affinity also supplies homes in parts of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and Surrey.
In a bid to offset the low levels of rainfall, Affinity Water is taking a range of measures, including regular meetings of its drought management group, investing in its network, working in partnership with other water companies and the Environment Agency, and resting groundwater sources so that they can be used if the situation worsens further.
Mike Pocock, director of asset strategy at Affinity Water, said: “With our water resources at low levels, we are continuing to ask our customers to help by saving water, which can make a real difference.
“However, the weather remains one thing we cannot control, which is why we keep our water efficiency activities and messaging going year-round to remind people that water is a precious resource - whatever the weather.”