Water companies urge customers to limit showers to four minutes

Water companies urge customers to limit showers to four minutes
Water companies have told the public to be "neighbourly" and restrict their showers to four minutes (Photo: Shutterstock)

by Katie Grant

Major water companies including United Utilities, Thames Water and Affinity Water are advising the public to take showers instead of baths, let their lawns go brown and forgo washing their cars to preserve supplies during the UK heatwave.

The UK experienced its hottest temperatures of the year for the fourth day running on Thursday, as the mercury reached at least 30C in all four nations for the first time in five years, leaving some train passengers frustrated and uncomfortable.

Be ‘neighbourly’ and use less water

Amid surging demand, providers are appealing to customers to use water “wisely” to avoid the imposition of restrictions later this summer.

Southern Water has called on people living in the South East of England to “be neighbourly” and use water only “sparingly” as demand in the region continued to soar, while Affinity Water emailed customers this week to apologise to those experiencing low water pressure or even a loss of supply.

Only use for drinking, washing and cooking

“If you are experiencing a reduction of your water pressure or loss of supply, this is due to extremely high demand in hot weather […] This situation should improve outside peak demand periods,” the company said.

“At this time, please only use the water supplies for essentials like drinking, washing and cooking.

“It’s better for plants to water less often, rather than a light sprinkle every day,” it added.

Demand ‘significantly’ higher

An Affinity Water spokesperson later said: “We usually supply on average 900 million litres of water each day to 3.6 million people and we have had to significantly increase this to meet demand due to the hot weather.

Fluids, such as water, diluted squash or fruit juice, should be consumed when you feel any symptoms of dehydration (Photo: Shutterstock)
Water providers want to stress that supplies should be used for vital drinking, cooking and washing only where possible (Photo: Shutterstock)

“This demand is averaging at 1.2 billion litres of water per day, but at times this has peaked to 1.6 billion litres in a single day.”

Thames Water said demand had gone up “significantly”.

Four-minute showers

Heavy winter rainfall helped to fill its reservoirs and recharge groundwater levels so it was not expecting to impose restrictions on usage yet, Thames Water said.

But Andrew Tucker, the company’s water efficiency manager, said: “Making just a few small changes to your routine…will make a big difference and help us keep up with demand and avoid the risk of water restrictions later.”

Thames Water is asking customers to limit their showers to four minutes and reduce water usage in the garden.

“Let your lawn go brown – it will recover,” the company said.

No half measures

United Utilities echoed this sentiment and suggested customers “only wash full loads in your washing machine or dishwasher”.

Scottish Water said there were no areas where normal water supplies had been affected by the warm weather, and Welsh Water said water levels were normal for the time of year.

However, a spokesman for Northern Ireland Water warned: “If demand for water continues at this rate, our storage levels will become a real concern.”

This article was originally published on our sister site, iNews