The company which supplies water to 4 million customers in the East of England, Anglian Water, is urging customers to save water to help ease the drought. It's distributing thousands of waterproof egg-timers so people can time their showers to just four minutes. The company says every minute in the shower uses 9 litres (2 gallons) of water.
Parts of the Anglian Water region have officially been in drought since June last year. With no significant rain over the autumn and winter months the water levels in rivers, reservoirs and underground aquifers are still below normal. There have been two dry winters in a row. Winter is the recharge period when we typically bank the vast majority of the water we need for the coming year. Anglian Water says the effects of the exceptionally dry weather during the past 18 months can be clearly seen in the West of the region, particularly around Northampton and Peterborough where the Pitsford and Rutland reservoirs are around 20 per cent lower than they should be at the end of February.
The company is warning that some restrictions on domestic use are a very real possibility this summer. It would be the first time there has been a hosepipe ban anywhere in the Anglian Water region for 20 years.
Anglian Water is asking customers to do what they can by being as water efficient as possible in the coming weeks and months. The company says: "This does not mean going without. It does mean adapting our behaviour slightly so we use less water for everyday tasks. Simply, we all need to start seeing water as the precious and finite resource it is and use it accordingly. "