Why does Bristol Water not need to introduce a hosepipe ban?

The hosepipe ban in Southern Water affecting thousands of homes in Hampshire is due to start this Friday, August 5.

In an earlier article, Wessex Water allayed concerns across parts of Somerset and Bristol that they had “not applied for any drought orders or temporary use bans.”

In a statement from Bristol Water, they have also confirmed that their “modelling and forecasts do not indicate the need to impose hosepipe bans or any other water supply restrictions during 2022.”

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But why do some water supply companies have to introduce temporary use bans, whilst others do not? The answer lies in the type of water sources that are relied upon.

A spokesperson for Bristol Water said: “It’s quite common in the south east of England to encounter problems with their supplies due to the type of water sources they rely on.

“They have more groundwater sources, whereas we mostly use reservoirs. In dry periods, it’s harder for groundwater sources to recover quickly.”

Southern Water take 70 percent of their supply from groundwater; predominantly from the chalk aquifer which is “widespread across [their] region.”

“A further 23 percent comes from rivers and the remaining seven per cent from surface water reservoirs owned by the company.”

Wessex Water rely also on a majority of groundwater sources in Dorset and Wiltshire, but they have a larger proportion – around 20 percent – of surface water reservoirs.

Bristol Water take approximately 50 percent of their water from Chew Valley Lake, Blagdon Lake, Cheddar Reservoir and Barrow Gurney Reservoirs, with the remaining amount coming from the River Severn “via the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.”

A spokesperson from Bristol Water said this about the current situation: “Rainfall this year has been below average and as a result reservoir storage is lower than normal.

“However, our modelling and forecasts do not indicate the need to impose hosepipe bans or any other water supply restrictions during 2022.

“To ensure drought resilience, we will continue to enact our dry weather management plan.

“Over the coming months, we’ll prioritise and use other sources of available water and implement options to recover reservoir levels over the winter recharge period.

“We will continue to monitor the situation, but with our current water resource outlook, we do not foresee any issues in supply to customers.”

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