UNITED Utilities (UU) is applying to increase the amount of water it can remove from lakes and rivers, just weeks after Wallasey was left high and dry.
On May 21 around 14,500 homes in Wallasey were left without water after United Utilities engineers encountered problems while repairing a leak on a 21in mains pipeline in Reeds Lane, Moreton.
Wirral council emergency workers were forced to distribute bottles of water in three different locations in Wallasey while United Utilities battled to restore the supply.
The application, to the Environment Agency (EA), follows the region’s driest start to the year since 1929, with many reservoirs at under half capacity.
Rainfall in May was just 38 per cent of the region’s long term average and June looks set to follow this dry trend.
UU will apply to the EA for permission to increase the amount of water taken from Ennerdale reservoir in the Lake District.
The EA is working with UU to ensure that public water supplies and other essential uses of water are maintained as far as possible with minimal impact on the environment.
Drought has serious consequences for the environment, particularly wildlife, and EA officers have increased monitoring of region’s rivers.
As the government’s environmental watchdog, the EA will consider the application to make sure that the water needs of people, businesses and the environment are balanced.
With the exception of North West England, there is currently little threat to public water supplies across the rest of England and Wales, as groundwater levels are healthy and reservoirs are generally within their normal operating zones, despite some being below average for this time of year. River levels in Wales are also very low for the time of year.
The EA has warned that across the country water resources are under pressure from climate change and population growth. By 2050, many rivers could see an 50-80 per cent reduction in average river flows during summer months.
Bill Darbyshire, Drought Manager, at the Environment Agency, said:
“Drought also has serious consequences for wildlife and Environment Agency officers are increasing river monitoring to actively manage any environmental impacts from drought.”