Water companies have been criticised for pressing ahead with hosepipe bans and restrictions despite widespread flooding which led to many outdoor events being cancelled.
United Utilities confirmed its hosepipe ban would begin on August 5 in the North West even though the torrential rain in the region meant firefighters were finally able to stand down from blazes at Saddleworth Moor and Winter’s Hill.
In Dorset downpours and gales forced organisers to cut short the music festival Camp Bestival, where headliners Simple Minds were due to close the event on Sunday evening.
A statement on the festival’s website said: “We are utterly devastated and heartbroken to say that we have been advised by our safety teams that we can not re-open arenas again today due to the severe weather and the forecasting of continual high winds and rain today.”
The classical singer Katherine Jenkins was also forced to abandon the stage temporarily during a performance at Sennowe Park in mid Norfolk on Saturday night.
Just five minutes into the concert, the mezzo-soprano and musicians from the National Philharmonic Orchestra had to take cover because of horizontal rain.
The Met Office confirmed a monitoring station at Belfast Airport received nearly 10cm of rain on Saturday, more than the average for the whole of July leading to Ryanair cancelling 20 flights.
Residents in the County Antrim village of Muckamore were evacuated after more than a foot of sludge poured into their homes. On the mainland, Wales saw the wettest of Sunday’s weather with 5cm falling in Capel Curig in the north of the country.
Yet despite the deluge, water companies including Southern Water, Thames Water, Affinity Water are still asking customers not to use hosepipes or sprinklers
United Utilities said it would implement the ban on Sunday, which will impact seven million people.
Customers sent messages to the company’s Twitter feed showing water pouring through the streets of Manchester. “No wonder there is a hosepipe ban coming in,” wrote one.
Mark Burford who was drenched at the Kendal Calling music festival in the Lake District wrote: “Looking forward to United Utilities trying to sell the hosepipe ban as a valid request to people who have been a Kendal Calling this weekend.”
Kieran Lawton added: “Hope you’ve put the plug in this time.”
United Utilities has already faced criticism for allowing one quarter of its water to flow away.
This week Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, will this week call in water company chief executives after new figures showed that they are losing three billion litres of water a year through leaks.
Over half of water companies in the UK missed their targets for reducing the amount of water lost through leaks, it emerged yesterday as the UK faces one of the driest summers for years.
Mr Gove said water firms ‘have much more to do to tackle leakage’, adding: “That is why I have repeatedly made clear that companies must improve and recently wrote to them to outline my expectations during this period of dry weather.
“Next week I will ask the chief executives of the water companies that have failed to meet their leakage targets to a meeting at Defra to discuss how they are going to address this serious issue and improve their performance.”.
Yesterday images of Baitings Reservoir, owned by Yorkshire Water, showed water lapping the sides of the embankment while Blackstone Edge reservoir, owned by United Utilities, had significantly lower water levels despite the close proximity.
Yorkshire Water said it had no intention of introducing a ban at this time.
However the heawave will return next week, with rain giving way to bright sunshine by Wednesday, and temperatures soaring past 86F (30C) by the weekend.
Met Office forecaster Steven Keates said: “Summer is not over by any means.
“The weekend was not pleasant for people on summer holidays – but it warms up again later in the week.
“The low 30s is not out of the question at the end of the week – and it could go higher, with forecast models showing the mid-30s after the weekend. Watch this space.”
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/29/water-companies-criticised-hosepipe-restrictions-despite-torrential/