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‘An extra 80 cups of tea a day’ - Drought warning as water usage soars during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 08:42 27 June 2020 | UPDATED: 08:55 27 June 2020

Anglian Water is appealing for gardeners to hang up their hose pipes as water usage soars across the region  Picture: Chris Bishop

Anglian Water is appealing for gardeners to hang up their hose pipes as water usage soars across the region Picture: Chris Bishop

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Water use has soared during lockdown - by the equivalent of people drinking 80 extra cups of tea a day.

Using a watering can instead of a hose can save 225 litres of water in 15 minues  Picture: Chris BishopUsing a watering can instead of a hose can save 225 litres of water in 15 minues Picture: Chris Bishop

Anglian Water is appealing to gardeners to use watering cans instead of hose pipes and reuse water where possible.

A spokesman said: “It’s been the driest spring on record, and with millions of homes on lockdown for the last two months, at peak times, during the warmer days, we have seen the demand for water rise to 20pc more than normal. This increase equates to every customer drinking roughly an additional 80 cups of tea a day.

“We all have part to play to make sure we have enough water to go around this summer, so we don’t see interruptions to supply, or low water pressure as a result of high demand. That’s why we’re asking customers to be mindful of their discretionary water use and reuse water wherever possible.”

The appeal comes as the Environment Agency warned river flows and some groundwater levels are ‘below normal’ in locations along the rivers Cam and Ely Ouse. In addition, the soil condition means it is soaking up water faster.

Abstraction licence holders in the most affected areas will be asked to take less water.

Helen Smith, EA (EA) drought manager for East Anglia, said: “We continue to monitor our key river, groundwater and reservoir sites using telemetry, in line with government guidance, and are liaising with water companies to understand any emerging concerns.

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“We are also working with farmers, businesses and other abstractors to manage water availability and ensure that as far as possible they get the water they need to be resilient while maintaining our protection of the environment.

“We can all do our part to use water wisely and manage this precious resource. If you are using water in the garden, take some simple steps such as fitting a trigger to your hose or using a bucket to wash the car or water plants.

“While we ask people to use water wisely, they should follow current NHS advice on stopping the spread of coronavirus by washing hands with soap and water often.”

Water saving tips include:

• Use a watering can instead of a hosepipe to water the garden and save a whopping 225 litres of water in 15 minutes.

• Collect rainwater in a water butt, or re-use your paddling pool water in the garden and keep flowers blooming all summer.

• Wash one full load in your washing machine instead of two half loads, and save 10 litres of precious water.

• A running tap uses 15 litres every minute - try washing your fruit and vegetables in a bowl of fresh water.


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