Heatwave causes precious spring water supplies to dry up in Calderdale

Donal OHanlon at his home in Todmorden, with Spirit the horse and one of the vital water containers
Donal OHanlon at his home in Todmorden, with Spirit the horse and one of the vital water containers

As temperatures hot up, spring water supplies in Calderdale are starting to dry up.

The issue was raised by James Baker, Liberal Democrat group leader, at this month’s full meeting of Calderdale Council, who reported that the Scottish Government was making allowances for local authorities to open up standpipes and supply water, and said supplies in Calderdale were being affected.

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The council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and communities, Coun Susan Press (Labour, Todmorden) asked Coun Baker (Warley) to let her have details of people who were being affected and she would liaise with Calderdale’s officers to see what could be done.

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Donal O’Hanlon, who lives at Windy Harbour Lane on the hills above Todmorden, said problems with his home’s spring supply drying up had been increasing since June and his family were having to take great care using water: “We have had a prolonged dry spell and the water levels have dropped below the level of the spring.”

With the family having two horses, the challenge of being able to source enough water to meet daily needs has been met, and brought home how precious a resource it is.

Initially help from nearby friends and a neighbour allowing him to use their bore hole, saw 25 litre water containers filled at the latter provided supplies, with a hosepipe link now set up to fill a tank in Donal’s garden on a timed connection from the neighbour’s outside tap securing some supply.

“The horses drink about 70 litres of water a day and generally, to run our household, using no washing machine or dishwasher, we need about 400 litres a day,” he said.

“We have also bought massive containers to store any rainwater we do get.”

Downspouts and gutters are hooked up to save every drop of water.

A no-waste policy means water from handwashed dishes is poured onto plants.

Launderette trips have to be planned as service washes are not available on some days, with family washing machines also pressed into use elsewhere.

Using the shower at the gym helps save using water at home. Donal looked on the council’s website and said a list of water suppliers was provided but the cost would be around £400 to £500 for 2,000 litres of water – about £500 for each four days’ worth of supply.