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Unprecedented peak demand for water in the UK

The UK’s The Met Office has forecast that London could see highs of 38C when the heatwave sweeps across England.

People look over a dry bank of a tributary to the Dowry Reservoir near Manchester
People look over a dry bank of a tributary to the Dowry Reservoir near Manchester
Image: PA

Updated Jul 18th 2022, 4:06 PM

WATER COMPANIES IN the UK been experiencing “unprecedented peak demand” amid the extreme heat.

Wales has provisionally recorded its hottest day on record, with the Met Office predicting that temperatures in Lonon will be hotter than the Caribbean, the Western Sahara and popular holiday destinations in Europe.

The temperature in Wales rose to 37.1C in Hawarden, Flintshire, provisional Met Office figures show.

Britons are being encouraged to “carefully consider” their water usage, and urged not to waste it in the high temperatures.

Water UK said that the “most intense demand” is across the south of England but that “pretty much all companies are seeing elevated demand at the moment”.

Southern Water said that on an average day it supplies around 540 million litres to its 2.6 million water customers – but that the peak level so far this summer has been 657 million litres.

It added that it is possible the heatwave 2018 record of 671 million litres might be broken this year.
weather-heatwave Source: Press Association Images
The rise in temperatures has forced the UK Health Security Agency to issue a level 4 heat-health alert – described as an “emergency” – while the Met Office has issued the UK’s first red extreme heat warning, with both running from today until Wednesday.

United Utilities, a water provider in the north-west of England, said it is “working flat out to feed (water) into the pipe network as fast as it is being used” and that it expects to supply around 230 million extra litres of water on Monday – which is normally enough to supply both Liverpool and Manchester combined.

Water demand reduction manager for Thames Water, Andrew Tucker, said the heatwave has led to demand being “at near record level”.

He said while Thames Water is not currently considering any water restrictions, that could change if there is little rainfall in the coming months.

Wales’s apparently record-breaking temperature needs to be verified before it can be confirmed.

The extreme heatwave affecting all parts of the UK has prompted a rare amber weather warning to be issued by the Met Office across Wales.

A red weather warning for heat was issued across parts of England.

Scientists at the Met Office have said the 40C prediction is a result of climate change, warning that that figure “could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence”.

Some schools in several counties, including Nottinghamshire and Hampshire, have confirmed they will close, while train companies urged people not to travel on Monday and Tuesday.

The public have been urged not to travel unless necessary with conditions on public transport expected to be “uncomfortable”.

The speed limit on rail lines has been limited to 90mph, reduced from 125mph, meaning journeys will take longer.

People have also been warned to keep pets and livestock cool.

Farmers at the Royal Welsh Show near Builth Wells in Powys, the UK’s biggest agricultural event, are said to be taking measures to care for the around 8,000 animals attending.

Some are even smothering pigs in sun tan lotion, according to a BBC report.

Doctors have warned of a danger to life or potential serious illness from the blistering temperatures.

Recommended precautions include avoiding physical exercise, keeping to the shade and maintaining ventilation, drinking plenty of water and using in-date sun cream.

People have been warned against using rivers and lakes to cool off due to the dangers of swimming in open water.

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