Coronavirus: ‘Save water’ to meet lockdown demand

coronavirus save water to meet lockdown demand - Coronavirus: 'Save water' to meet lockdown demandImage copyright United Utilities
Image caption United Utilities has asked customers to use less water

People have been urged to save water as utility companies attempt to meet “sky-high” demand across England.

Supply issues have affected people in the Midlands, the South East and South West, with some saying they haven’t had water since Saturday.

Some customers say companies have not been keeping them informed while others claim work to try to improve the situation has been ineffective.

Suppliers say people should think about how much water they are using and why.

About 2,000 homes across the Midlands have been affected by supply issues in the past week.

Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire has been one of those hit, with Severn Trent setting up bottled water stations for customers:

Phil Auger, 61, of Dursley in Gloucestershire, said he and his neighbours have been unable to wash their hands or flush toilets.

“One of our neighbours had to use water from the watering can she filled the previous day to make a hot drink,” he said.

In Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, bottled water has been given out at supermarkets.

Severn Trent has asked people “to use less” so they “can make sure that the water gets to everyone”.

South East Water has told people in Kent, Sussex, Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey that their lawns can “look after themselves” in order to reduce the use of sprinklers.

Water companies say that in order to help restore the supply system people should:

  • Turn off sprinklers
  • Not fill paddling pools
  • Not use pressure washers or hose pipes
  • Try to only use water for cleaning, washing and cooking
  • Try not to use water at peak times.

Some people living in Haslemere, Surrey, say their water supply stopped on Saturday, with residents reporting Thames Water tankers being brought in on Sunday to help.

Mother-of-three Emma Smith, who lives near Haslemere Reservoir, said the system had bypassed her property leaving her without supply.

“The children want cool showers, I need to do laundry – it’s been a nightmare,” she said.

The company has advised people to use water “sparingly” and “make every drop count”, with engineers on the ground working non-stop to try to help, Mrs Smith said.

United Utilities says it has provided an extra 4.6 billion litres of water across the north-west while Northumbrian Water customers have been advised their bills may go up “slightly” as a result of demand.

Demand on South West Water, which provides water to Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset, has also “rocketed”:

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