Autumn and winter is the time when the chalk aquifer recharges as increased rain, reduced evaporation and lower demands from vegetation allow water to saturate the soil and feed down to the aquifer below.
Affinity water are bringing this to the attention of their customers and stakeholders, in anticipation of possible hosepipe bans in the Spring of 2020 and have shared the advice and water saving suggestions below. They are also looking to engage with the public and FORQ will be taking that opportunity along with other Hertfordshire River Groups in pressing them to hear their plans for the future.
Our Central region is in drought
Above average rain will be needed this autumn and winter for water resource situation to improve
We welcomed the rain in late September in our Central region, which was above the long-term average at 137%.
However, following nearly three years of below average rainfall our Central region is in drought. Groundwater levels are still well below average and a few good weeks of rain is not enough to make up for this.
This means we may need to introduce temporary water restrictions (also known as hosepipe bans) in spring 2020 if we do not get above average rainfall this autumn and winter.
We have now entered the recharge season, which is when rain is more likely to filter down into the aquifer (porous rock where groundwater is stored). This period usually runs from October to March. However, soils were drier than average in September and any rain that falls will first need to saturate the soil before filtering down to the aquifer, potentially delaying recharge of groundwater.
In September, we launched an extensive campaign through direct customer emails, social media and traditional media to ensure customers are fully aware of the situation. This resulted in over 4,000 orders for water saving devices in just 24 hours and we would like to thank customers for their support in saving water.
We will continue to update customers as the situation progresses and in November, we will engage with customers to get their views to ensure they are fully prepared if restrictions need to be introduced in spring 2020.
Our central region, where drought conditions are in place includes Hertfordshire, West Essex and parts of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and North London.
Beat the chill
With winter approaching, we are asking stakeholders and customers to ensure they are ready to prevent freezing pipes this winter.
Any homes and businesses left empty are particularly at risk and should be protected against
possible freezing and bursts.
The simple actions below will make a big difference once temperatures start dropping:
• Insulate outside taps and exposed water pipes in lofts and outside
• Insulate cold water tanks
• Check that external and internal stop taps are working so supplies can be turned off in an emergency
• If it’s very cold outside leave central heating on a low setting overnight
• If leaving homes and business unattended for a long period, turn off the water supply at the stop tap. Consider leaving the heating on a low setting
• Fix dripping taps – even a small trickle can lead to a frozen pipe.
For more information and videos about coping with cold weather visit: www.affinitywater.co.uk/coldweather
Water is not part of the climate change debate.
It is treated like an add on when it is critical to life. We need this to change now.
#WhyNotWater is a campaign to fuel a national debate to ensure water conservation is at the heart of our actions and behaviour.
Why should we act?
· Climate change is likely to reduce our supply of water in our area by 39 million litres of water per day by 2080.
· The population is growing and is expected to increase 51% by 2080. This is equivalent to approximately 1.8 million more people in our supply area, putting further strain on our resources.
· Using water wisely is critical in the South East – a severely water-stressed area; did you know there was less rainfall than other parts of the country? Between July 2016 and April 2017 the area received 33% less rainfall than the national average.
· Customers in the South East also use more water daily – 152 litres per person per day, which is higher than the national average of 141 litres per person per day.
1. Mandatory water efficiency labelling – labelling is currently rolled out in Australia, California, China and many other countries, so why not the UK? Labelling is also mandatory for energy, so #WhyNotWater?
1. Tenants should have the right to use water efficient goods – landlords must have an energy performance certificate (EPC) by law, with financial penalties if they do not. Private tenants also have the rights to request that their landlord installs energy efficient measures – why can’t the same standards be implemented for water?
1. Domestic water efficiency through fittings and fixtures through mandatory certification – there is considerable potential to improve water efficiency use by households if changes are made to fixture and fittings through mandatory certification approvals.
1. Every local plan in a severely water stressed area should include the target of 110 litres per person per day.
We are urging you and the communities you serve to support our #WhyNotWater manifesto to demand key changes in legislation and policy to empower people to save water, energy and help conserve the natural environment.
Please support our campaign by signing and sharing our petition at www.affinitywater.co.uk/ourpetition
To find out more about our campaign, please visit www.whynotwater.co.uk
We are sending you this information as a key stakeholder in the area we serve. If you would prefer not to receive this monthly water resources update please respond to this email address with ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line.
Director of Production and Supply