Over the last year, there has been low rainfall and the water in our aquifers (porous rock where groundwater is stored) and rivers that we use to supply your water has dropped below average.
This is important as 60% of the water we supply to you comes from underground sources and aquifers only usually fill up from rainfall during autumn and winter when there is less plant growth and evaporation.
We have welcomed the rainfall between May and August. This has benefited the environment and helped reduce the demand for water. However, this was limited in comparison to the low rainfall over the last year, particularly during our autumn and winter recharge season.
The below average levels in groundwater is mainly affecting our Central and Southeast regions. Our Central region covers people in parts of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey and the London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon and parts of the London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Enfield. Our Southeast region covers the Folkestone and Dover areas of Kent.
We continue to monitor the situation closely with clear plans in place to make sure we’re fully prepared, should we experience another dry autumn and winter in 2017 / 18.
In June, we launched our ‘Keep Track of the Tap’ campaign to ensure customers have the advice and practical help they need to save water. We delivered our ‘Keep Track of the Tap’ leaflet to approximately 1.7 million households across our Central and Southeast regions during July. This led to a substantial increase in water saving device orders and visits to our save water web page.
We have also launched radio and advertising campaigns across our regions to reinforce our water saving message and encourage uptake of water saving devices.
We are working closely with the Environment Agency, Defra and other water companies on our plans to make sure that any impacts on customers are minimised and that consistent advice is being given.
Here is a graph showing the average rainfall for the past year.
Here is a diagram showing our current groundwater levels
What we’re doing
We operate in areas which are designated as suffering from serious water stress* and we face a growing population. We need to leave more water in the environment, whilst making sure we have enough water. We can only do this by working in partnership with our customers to reduce demand for water.
Over the last two years we have made significant investments in driving down leakage whilst helping our customers use less water.
Since 2010, we have outperformed the targets set by our regulator, Ofwat and we are on track to reduce leakage by 27 million litres per day by 2020. This is equivalent to a 14% reduction in leakage and is the largest percentage reduction of any water company in England and Wales during this period.
Our work includes:
- Offering practical help to our customers to save water, energy and money through our FREE Home Water Efficiency Checks with every meter fitted in our Water Saving Programme
- FREE water efficiency devices offered to all our customers
- Driving down the level of leakage on our network beyond the target set by our regulator, Ofwat
- Increasing our investment to renew our network to help prevent leaks and bursts.
- Our Education Team engages with thousands of students a year in schools and at our Education Centre in Bushey to enrich school curriculums and promote water efficiency.
We will keep you updated on the situation with regular communications. In the meantime, if you would like any further information please contact us at email@example.com
Director of Asset Strategy
* The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under Regulation 4 of the Water Industry (Prescribed Conditions) Regulations 1999, as amended.