Yorkshire Water reveals hosepipe ban could last 'well into' next year

The hosepipe ban, which came into force on 26 August, was the first in 27 years. Credit: PA

A hosepipe ban in force across Yorkshire could last "well into" next year if water levels don't recover, the supplier has said.

Yorkshire Water, which provides water for more than five million customers, has said reservoir levels are still too low following the hot, dry summer and the lowest rainfall levels for more than 130 years.

Its hosepipe ban was imposed for the first time in 27 years on 26 August, after reservoir levels fell below 50%.

A spokesperson for Yorkshire Water said: "The hosepipe ban will need to be in place until we receive significant rainfall and our reservoir levels return to a situation much closer to normal.

"This is to ensure we have enough raw water to meet demand over the next 12 months.

"Whilst we can’t predict the weather, we will not have the ban in place any longer than is absolutely necessary."

Average water levels at the region's reservoirs have plunged to 35% and one West Yorkshire reservoir is only about 20% full, the company said.

People walk on the dry cracked earth at Baitings Reservoir in Ripponden, West Yorkshire Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Director of water, Neil Dewis, told the BBC: "I think the hosepipe ban will remain in place for several more months and if it is a dry winter it will be there well into next year.

"The bottom line is we will have some rain this winter and reservoirs will recover, but Yorkshire Water is focused on next spring and summer. Even if we get a normal amount of winter rainfall, that will only lift reservoirs up to 60 or 70% by spring.

"If that’s the case and we have another dry, hot summer, we could really face some serious consequences."

Under the current restrictions, customers are banned from using a hosepipe to water their gardens, clean their vehicles, fill their swimming pools or clean their homes.

Bur they are still permitted to use tap water from a bucket or watering can, or water that is not sourced from taps.

Mr Dewis said it was "very unlikely" that further restrictions would be needed, but that a "non-essential use ban" could be introduced if necessary.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.