Drought 'won't catch us here'

By Hannah Durkin

WATER, water, everywhere – and not a hosepipe ban in sight.

That's the confident message today from Yorkshire Water chiefs who have splashed out millions to ensure Calderdale remains drought free.

Reservoirs across the district are full – topped up with April's seemingly never-ending showers.

And massive investment on new pipes, a regionwide grid and a reduction of leaks mean supplies should be plentiful throughout this summer and beyond.

Many areas in the south of England have already imposed water restrictions – but there will be none of that here, company bosses say.

Robert Lloyd, asset strategy manager for Yorkshire Water's water business unit, said: "We are anticipating no restrictions this summer.

"In the last 10 years we have built new pipelines and pumping stations, and we don't take our eye off water conservation."

Yorkshire Water has spent 150 million extending the grid since the late 1990s and spends 1 million a day reducing leaks.

He also said if reservoir levels in Calderdale were to drop extremely low, a grid system in place would mean water could be transferred to the district.

The system is made up of a series of underground pipes that transport water to wherever it is needed.

Mr Lloyd said: "The reservoirs were not full through the winter, but when we have had a bit of rainfall we have been able to maximise the grid and bring the water in. It is a very stable way of bringing supplies in for all our customers."

A decade on from when Calderdale almost ran dry, he

said stocks in the region's reservoirs were full.

The drought-stricken district hit national headlines when stocks in reservoirs dropped to 18.5 per cent in September 1995.

Yorkshire Water was forced to resort to running a shuttle of tankers to keep supplies going. Water was pumped from Booth Wood Reservoir near Rishworth and, when that ran dry, supplies were brought from Selby and then from as far away as the Kielder Reservoir in Northumbria.

A hosepipe ban affecting West Yorkshire was widened to North Yorkshire in an attempt to preserve stocks.

The Courier launched a campaign, Water Watch, to prevent the use of street standpipes and a hosepipe ban was introduced.

Yorkshire Water issued advice encouraging people to take showers instead of baths, repair dripping taps, wash dishes in a bowl instead of under a running tap and not to wash cars.

Emergency plans were also drawn up by Calderdale Council chiefs to help the elderly and house bound if the area's supplies were cut off.