HEATWAVE: Warning over water supplies in Aylesbury from Thames Water

A Thames Water warning board at the side of a motorway
A Thames Water warning board at the side of a motorway

Thames Water is warning that there may not be enough water to go around in Aylesbury following the recent heatwave unless residents take action.

the water supplier is asking customers not to use their sprinklers and hosepipes to ensure there is enough water to go round.

The company has increased the amount of water it is pumping into the local network by 25 per cent, enough to fill 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools every day, during the ongoing heatwave, but is urging customers to slow down – especially in the garden.

Last Sunday saw the highest ever level of water use across the Slough, Wycombe and Aylesbury water supply zone.

A fleet of six tankers is topping-up Ashendon reservoir, near Aylesbury, around the clock with 430,000 litres of drinking water every day to boost volumes, while a 30-strong team of water-saving experts have been visiting homes and businesses in the area, installing free water-saving devices, providing practical help and fixing leaks.

Lawrence Gosden, Thames Water chief operating officer, said: “The heatwave is here to stay for at least another two weeks so we’re asking everyone to be sensible and save water. There is plenty to go round, but the sheer volume of water being used is so great that some of our customers are already experiencing low pressure, particularly at peak times.

“This is happening because water simply cannot travel around our network quickly enough – it’s like running the dishwasher, washing machine, kitchen tap, and then trying to have a shower at home. A garden sprinkler uses as much water in an hour as a family of four need for a day, and your grass will soon recover. So please give yourself a break from washing the car and watering the lawn, and take shorter showers this weekend. We all need to work together, spread the word and act responsibly. I wouldn’t be asking if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.”

Coral Russell, Turfgrass Growers Association manager, said: “Going brown is the natural survival mechanism of grass. When water is in short supply, grass responds by shutting down and turning a brown colour showing that it has stopped growing until more favourable conditions return. Grass is remarkably resilient, and as long as you follow a few basic rules, most lawns will recover completely when the rain finally arrives.”

The firm says that simple ways customers can help save include:

· Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth

· Fix leaky loos or dripping taps

· Use the dishwasher and washing machine only when full

· If you use a paddling pool, use the water on the garden afterwards

Thames Water is pumping an extra 450 million litres into its overall network – 17 per cent more than normal – to cope with high levels of demand during the heatwave, with a record 1,000 leaks a week being fixed across the underground pipe network. Teams are also contacting high-use business customers to ask for their help, and offering free untreated water for plants instead of drinking quality water.