WITH some parts of Britain facing the threat of hosepipe bans, Huddersfield residents have been urged to get “water wise” even though there’s plenty of the wet stuff around at the moment.
Yorkshire Water said water stocks in the region were “normal” for the time of year – with reservoirs around Huddersfield 96% to 97% full.
But spokesman Matt Thompson said: “We are approaching the six driest months of the year and customers need to play their part to help conserve water. We always encourage people to be water wise and only use what they need.”
Mr Thompson said Yorkshire Water’s unique underground grid system – installed at a cost of £300m following the major drought of 1995 – meant the company was better-placed than other water firms to get supplies where they were needed.
While West Yorkshire is well-served by reservoirs, the company also draws its supplies from rivers and – especially in East Yorkshire – from bore holes.
“Whereas reservoir stocks are normal, certain parts of East Yorkshire are in drought and bore hole levels are 20% lower than is typical for this time of year,” said Mr Thompson.
“We have reduced the amount of water we draw from bore holes and we are taking more water from the River Derwent and using our underground grid to move that water after treatment at Selby to homes and businesses in East Yorkshire.”
The grid is monitored and controlled by staff at Yorkshire Water’s Bradford headquarters – but technology means technicians can also operate from a simple laptop.
“No other water company has such a grid and it is now that it comes into its own,” said Mr Thompson.
“It is enabling us to get water from areas where we have more of it to areas where there is a serious lack of it.
“While some companies will introduce restrictions next month, we have been able to manage and balance our stocks.”
Mr Thompson stressed: “In terms of water restrictions we never rule it out. While there are no immediate plans to impose water restrictions, we cannot say that will not change.
“The weather has been dry for some time now and even when it does rain, it hasn’t rained a great deal. We really do need some rain.
“Millions of litres of water will be consumed every day during the summer and that has to be replenished.”
Yorkshire Water has 54,000km (33,550 miles) of water pipes in the region. During 2012-13, it will spend £300m replacing old pipes and sewers as part of efforts to reduce leaks on the system.
Mr Thompson added: “In the last month we have recorded the company’s lowest ever leakage level – well below the figure set by industry regulator Ofwat.
But he said: “Our 4.7m customers can play a massive part in protecting water stocks.
“While many of us are water wise, we need to change the mindset that we can turn the tap and take water for granted.
“We need to treat it as a precious resource. People can help by turning the tap off when brushing their teeth or using a watering can rather than a hosepipe to water the garden”.