Homes face ban on hosepipe use

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THOUSANDs of householders in south Sheffield and north Derbyshire could face water restrictions - unless there is a return to average seasonal rainfall soon.

The warning has come from Severn Trent Water which supplies around a third of the city’s population - including suburbs like Beighton, Mosborough, Gleadless and Birley.

The company says hosepipe bans and other measures are increasingly likely, but adds the situation is under constant review and no decision has been taken.

“Our priority is always to maintain continuity of water supply to our customers and we will open up a dialogue with them and our stakeholders before any restrictions are proposed,” a spokeswoman said.

Parts of the region have seen the second driest spring since records began and although key reservoirs were full at the end of February, the combination of the long dry spell and increased customer demand has put pressure on supply resources, the company says.

“We are looking at every option to conserve supplies and are continuing to focus on leakage after one of the coldest Decembers for over 100 years,” the spokeswoman said.

“Our leakages are now back on target thanks to the hard work and dedication of our people and at least 50 per cent of all leaks are fixed within our three day target.”

A Yorkshire Water spokesman said there was currently no threat to supplies to the rest of Sheffield and South Yorkshire.

The GMB union says it believes Severn Trent will bring in a hosepipe ban in two weeks’ time unless there is persistent rain.

And it claims a new computer system has led to ‘complete confusion’ in the scheduling of repair work and dealing with leaks, leading to huge losses of water from reservoirs over the past year.

The union said it would take weeks of heavy rain for reservoirs to return to last year’s levels.

National officer Gary Smith said: “Introducing the new computer system has led to water draining out of the reservoirs as the delay in fixing the leaks stretched out to 30 days, compared with the target of three days.

“The management will blame the weather and will seek to divert attention from their own mismanagement that will lead to a hosepipe ban in two weeks unless we get heavy rain.”

But Severn Trent replied: “The introduction of any major computer system is challenging, but we refute entirely the suggestion that the current water resources situation is a result of the introduction of the system or through mismanagement.

“All of our colleagues are doing their utmost to ensure our customers continue to receive a continuous supply of high quality drinking water and they will be as disappointed as us at this action of one of their unions at this time.”