What happens during hot weather?

During hot weather, we use a lot more water.

When water usage increases, it puts a huge strain on the water network and means our supply is impacted. There are usually two ways our supply can be impacted, these are:

  • Low pressure
  • No water

Low pressure and no water during hot weather are a result of demand being so high that we struggle to get enough water through our pipes and to everyone’s taps fast enough.

How has recent weather affected water supply?

In June 2018, we had just 5% of the rain that we’d normally have, meaning it was one of the driest on record. This dry spell, combined with the hot weather and the increase in water usage, has meant that some of our customers have been affected by low pressure or no water.

To keep taps flowing, we pumped an extra 450 million litres of water into the network, that’s an extra 17% on top of what we’d usually pump in. We haven’t put a hosepipe ban in place just yet, but may have to if demand continues to increase.

What can you do to help?

This summer, we’re asking you to slow down your water usage, to make sure there’s enough to go around. If we all get involved and use a bit less, we can make a huge difference and help keep everyone’s taps running, whatever the weather.

Our top 3 water-saving tips:

  1. Take shorter showers – take a 4 minute shower. 3 minutes if you’re up for a challenge!
  2. Use a watering can instead of a hose - you’ll save up to 1,000 litres an hour
  3. Order water-saving freebies - reduce your water bill and your impact on the environment

Get more water-saving tips

 

What happens if you’re without water?

Please check the red bar on the homepage for the latest updates on supply issues. We’ll add everything here, including where to find your nearest bottled water station.

If you, or someone you know, could be vulnerable without water and require extra assistance from us, please let us know
If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible, please visit our extra care and priority services section

When demand increases, we increase our water production. When things get really bad, we may enforce a hosepipe ban. This allows us to limit the demand on the network and make sure we can get water to everyone - it helped to reduce water use by 100 million litres a day during the hottest weeks of May 2012.

Increasing water production sounds simple, but it’s not as simple as you’d think. We can’t ‘make water’ and there’s not an endless supply. We can’t take more water from rivers without damaging the environment and we can’t rely on rainfall, so we need to be smarter with how we use water, to protect our future and the future of generations to come.

Our region, like much of the South East is “seriously water-stressed”, which means a very high proportion of the water in the environment is already in use.

Thirty-five percent of the water we supply is pumped from natural underground reservoirs called aquifers. The other 65% is pumped from rivers. However, the vast majority of river water is supplied from aquifers, making groundwater our most important source of water.

For water to reach the aquifer, the ground needs to be saturated so it soaks through to the rocks beneath. As a result, winter is the most important time for replenishing supplies.