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North West bans hosepipes despite full reservoirs

Water company United Utilities has admitted that it has eight full reservoirs despite enforcing a hosepipe ban in the North West.

The company has eight small reservoirs in Lancashire which were removed from the water supply system before water privatisation.

A spokesman said reconnecting them to the water supply system would also involve building costly new treatment works.

The spokesman said that such a project would not be value for money because “smaller reservoirs are the first to dry up anyway”.

But he did say the company does bear the cost of maintaining the disused assets.

“Any reservoir that’s in our ownership, whether it’s active or dormant, is still our responsibility to maintain,” he said.

He said United Utilities’ research indicated that customers would rather suffer a hosepipe ban than higher water bills.

“The amount of money needed [to reconnect the reservoirs] would triple customers’ bills,” he said.

Readers' comments (4)

  • It would be useful to know, and give the article some value, to know the size of these reservoirs relative to the others currently operated by United Utilities.

    It would also be of more interest to know the effect of the recent heavy summer rain on the reservoirs in use.

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  • The use of the word 'admit' in the opening sentence of the article smacks of tabloid newspapers rather than serious technical journalism.

    All water companies have to make decisions on the economic viability of small water sources, paricularly as escalating drinking water quality standards demand ever more complex and expensive treatment.

    Water resources are generally only abandoned if alternative available resources ensure the company has sufficient to meet forecast demand. What none of us does, because regulation neither permits nor encourages it, is provide resources in excess of those needed, even though they might be useful in exceptional circumstances such as those currently being experienced by North West Water.

    David Shore
    South East Water

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  • The use of the word 'admit' in the opening sentence of the article smacks of tabloid newspapers rather than serious technical journalism.

    All water companies have to make decisions on the economic viability of small water sources, paricularly as escalating drinking water quality standards demand ever more complex and expensive treatment.

    Water resources are generally only abandoned if alternative available resources ensure the company has sufficient to meet forecast demand. What none of us does, because regulation neither permits nor encourages it, is provide resources in excess of those needed, even though they might be useful in exceptional circumstances such as those currently being experienced by North West Water.

    David Shore
    South East Water

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  • I can assure you that the majority of the reservoirs in the North West are anything but full! The majority of the large reservoirs close to the road network and clear to see every day by the public are obviously significantly lower than normal levels.
    While the reservoirs referred to in the article may be full there is a significant issue regarding the location of water versus the location of conurbation making the comments of UU particularly relevant and proper. This poor tabloid level sensational reporting does not make clear where these full reserviors are and so fails to provide any useful informaiton for debate about if the hosepipe ban and water shortages could be avoided by their reconnection.

    While I do not agree the reconnection should be entirely discounted on cost grounds, if a programme were introduced to reconnect the reservoirs, the timeframes for reconnection would not stop the current hosepipe ban.

    This article is significantly lacking in relevant fact and information to be of value.

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