Water demand soars as temperature hits new record
22 July 2022
With Wales basking in glorious sunshine at the moment, it wasn’t just the mercury that was rising in the record breaking heat.
While the sun shone over Wales yesterday on the hottest day recorded, not for profit utility company Welsh Water saw demand for water from its customers soar – which exceeded the levels seen at the peak of the 2018 heatwave.
On a typical day, the company normally treats and supplies around 850 mega litres of fresh, clean water to its three million customers. This is roughly the same amount of water needed to fill around 320 Olympic sized swimming pools. Yesterday the company saw this level exceed 1,000 mega litres per day.
This extra demand makes it a challenge to get water through the pipes fast enough and also drains the water quicker from the reservoirs and rivers that supply the water. This is especially important as between March and April, rainfall across Wales was only 50% of the long term average while between March and May it was just 60%.
While water resources in the majority of Wales are in a good position, there is a slight concern about the situation in Pembrokeshire. While this shouldn’t have any immediate impact, if the there is no significant rain between now and the end of August, some level of restriction may be required later in the summer.
To keep up with the demand, the company has had to ramp up its operations to ensure that it keeps the water flowing for customers. This included working around the clock to ensure the water treatment works kept up with demand and also deplying its full fleet of water tankers to top up local water systems.
The company has also increased its work on fixing and repairing leaks and is already finding and fixing between 500 – 600 leaks a week.
Customers can also play their part by following some of the simple hints and tips the company has around ways to avoid wasting water in the home and garden. These include:
- Don’t leave the tap running while washing hands or brushing teeth
- Take a shower instead of a bath
- Wait until the washing machine and dishwasher are full before putting them on
- Don’t fill the paddling pool to the top – and when you’ve finished, use the water on the plants in the garden
- Don’t use a sprinkler on the lawn to keep it green – the colour will soon come back once it rains
Ian Christie, Managing Director of Water Services said: "I’m sure we’ve all been enjoying this warm weather and as a company we always see an increase in demand for water when the sun shines. Peaks in demand normally only last a short period but with these unprecedented temperatures we’re seeing a sustained period of increase in demand. It was no surprise that we saw the demand reach 1,000 mega litres per day yesterday.
"Meeting spikes in demand naturally brings with is some additional challenges for the company and people will have seen our teams out and about to make sure that we keep the water flowing. While we will do all that we can, it would help us as well if customers play their part as well by avoiding wasting water.
"Garden sprinklers for example are one of the biggest consumers of water in the garden as they use on average 1,000 litres of water every hour. This is the equivalent of what a typical family would use inside the house in two days. By avoiding using sprinklers, or investing in a water butt to collect rain water, people could use significantly less water.
"Another way customers can help is by reporting any leaks to us which they may notice so that we can get a team out straight away to look at it. By working together in this way was can help ensure that we keep the water flowing through the summer."
More information on water saving tips and details of how to get hold of water saving devices, visit dwrcymru.com/savewater.