Experts warn Jersey at 'real risk' of two-year drought

  • Report by ITV Channel's Katya Fowler

Jersey could face two years of drought, experts have warned.

The Island-wide hosepipe ban - which is set to continue into the winter - has cut water consumption, but Jersey Water says supplies are not being replenished fast enough.

The lack of rainfall over the last few months means water levels are far below where they should be, and the island's desalination plant is working overtime to make up supplies.

Mark Bowden of Jersey Water said that water levels in the Island are currently just above sixty percent of storage capacity, while they would usually stand at 80% at this time of year.

"Although it doesn't sound that low, it's really planning for the future and making sure that we have enough to last us through the coming year." With weather experts predicting an unusually dry and warm winter, the end of the hosepipe ban in January may not be the end of the problem.

Mr Bowden commented: "Our storage relies on rainfall. During the winter, it may be possible to lift the hose pipe ban.

"But we'll have to look very carefully and make sure that our reservoirs are sufficiently recharged so that we can lift restrictions next year, and we don't have a similar situation next year. A two year drought is the real risk that we face."

Jersey's desalination plant costs £8000 per day to run. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Water levels at Queen's Valley Reservoir are currently five and a half meters below where they should be. The desalination plant has prevented these levels from dropping even further.

However the plant costs £8,000 a day to run, so usage is normally limited to around four weeks per year.

This year, it has already been running for almost eight weeks and Jersey Water says it could run for even longer to keep the island out of crisis water levels.