People urged to think about water use after lockdown and dry May sparks rise in demand

People in East Anglia are being urged to think carefully about how much water they're using after water companies reported a huge rise in demand during lockdown.

Anglian Water said demand has been 20% above normal for this time of year, largely due to the fact that so many people have been stuck at home.

It was also the sunniest and driest May on record, with the region experiencing less than 5% of the rain normally expected in the month.

There are no immediate concerns of a water shortage or a hosepipe ban being introduced though, with reservoirs still relatively full following a very wet autumn and winter.

However, suppliers are still reminding people not to waste water and to avoid using too much at peak times - particularly in the evenings.

Andrew Bienkiron looks out over one of the reservoirs at the Euston Estate in Suffolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"If you think, we supply a billion litres of water a day, an extra 20% on top of that is a lot of water," Regan Harris from Anglian Water told ITV News Anglia.

"It equates roughly to about 30 litres extra per person in every household so if you want to do the simple maths on that - that's about 80 cups of tea extra a day."

The lack of spring rainfall has left some farmers fearing for the state of their crops - with most desperate for some more unsettled weather to arrive soon.

At the Euston Estate they grow wheat and barley, and farmers are concerned their profits could be hit.

"We're predicting a shortfall of about £150,000 in the cereal crops income," Andrew Bienkiron from the Euston Estate said.

"Other crops, it's probably too early to tell, but it's something we need to keep under constant review to see what effect the weather has.

"Farmers are always very concerned about the weather, but it does have such a significant effect on not only the crops that are growing at this time of the year but it's also having a knock-on effect on next year's crop."

Tips for saving water (courtesy of Anglia Water)

A running tap. Credit: PA
  • Turn the tap off between rinses when brushing your teeth and save 60 litres per day per household

  • Use a water displacement device in your toilet cistern and save 1 to 2 litres with every flush

  • Shower for 60 seconds less each day and save 15 litres

  • Use a watering can instead of a hosepipe to water the garden and save a whopping 225 litres of water in 15 minutes

  • Collect rainwater in a water butt to use in your garden and keep your beds blooming all summer

  • Cover soil with pebbles, gravel or chipped bark to keep moisture in and weeds out

  • Let the grass grow and set your mower on a higher setting to keep the moisture in

  • Fix a washer to that leaky tap and save up to 3 litres a day

  • Wash 1 full load in your washing machine instead of 2 half loads, and save 10 litres of precious water

  • A running tap uses 15 litres every minute - try washing your fruit and vegetables in a bowl of fresh water

  • Fill up your dishwasher before putting it on. Dishwashers use around 15 litres of water with every wash