At the beginning of April – after a very dry March and two unusually dry winters – water restrictions were put in place by seven water companies. At that time the water companies and governing bodies were warning of hosepipe bans being in place at least until Christmas. They also suggested this would be the case no matter how much rain we had this summer.
April was the wettest for over a hundred years and May wasn’t much dryer, leading to the replenishing of rivers, reservoirs and apparently much of the crucial groundwater stock. All this has lead to a u-turn by the water companies who are now expecting to lift the ban before the end of the summer.
Interestingly this coincides with reports this week that water companies and the Environment Agency have been under intense pressure to end the ban.
A source said to be involved in talks between officials and water companies told the Daily Mail: “Defra is putting intense pressure on the industry to drop the hosepipe ban. The real pressure comes from a desire to avoid any embarrassment when the world’s media arrive for the Olympics. There is a worry that this decision is being driven by politics rather than the reality of water supplies and the state of rivers. Thames and Anglian would drop the hosepipe bans completely, while some parts of Southern Water may need to maintain controls.”
Does this therefore suggest unseen groundwater stock might not have really risen as much as the Environment Agency and water companies are saying? Of course the general public has no real way of knowing the answer to this.
We’re pleased to hear the hosepipe ban may be coming to an end but we’re also very worried it may be ended too soon, simply because the government doesn’t want to be embarrassed by the world’s media when the Olympics begin. If it does end soon, let’s hope it’s not reinstated this year, perhaps a few weeks after all the Olympians have gone home. We should also remember that it was estimated water consumption would rise by about 10% during the Olympics.