Yorkshire Water has announced a hosepipe ban for the end of August – and Huddersfield weather expert Paul Stevens has warned there’s no significant rain in the forecast.
As the current heatwave sees temperatures in Huddersfield nudge 30C (86F) Yorkshire Water is urging people to save water.
The company, which supplies five million customers, has announced its first hosepipe ban in 27 years. It will come into force on August 26.
Yorkshire Water says reservoir levels have fallen below 50% for the first time since the drought of 1995 and could take months to recover.
Salendine Nook-based weather expert Mr Stevens said though the current six-day heatwave would break down on Sunday and may result in thundery, intense downpours that would do little to replenish water stocks.
“Here in the Pennines we are in a better position than other parts of the country as we had almost double the normal rainfall in February and that helped build up reservoir levels,” he said.
“That meant we were able to stand dry conditions for a little bit longer than elsewhere but the lack of rainfall and extremely high temperatures in July caused an awful lot of evaporation and also meant increased usage. If it doesn’t rain you have to take action.
“On Sunday afternoon or evening there is potential for thundery intense downpours but that won’t soak into the ground because it is so hard. Some will soak in but most will run off and there could be flash flooding.
“What we need is good prolonged rain and it needs to be heavy in duration and while cooler conditions are returning we are still looking at rainfall generally below average.”
Mr Stevens said the rains will come – eventually – but until then he urged people to conserve water and also refrain having barbecues or lighting fires on tinder dry moorland. He warned that even a single spark in a garden could cause devastation.
Yorkshire Water said that anyone breaking the hosepipe ban faces a fine of up to £1,000 and below is a list of what you CAN’T do once the ban comes into force.
Yorkshire Water spokesman Neil Dewis said: “We’ve been doing everything we can to avoid putting in restrictions but unfortunately they’re now necessary as part of our drought planning.”
He said the decision to introduce a ban was “based on the risk that water stocks continue to fall in the coming weeks.”
Mr Dewis added: “We need to make sure that we have enough supply for the essential needs of people across the region this year and next, as well as making sure we’re able to protect our local environment by limiting the amount of water we have to draw from the rivers.”