Drought declared across parts of mid and south Wales as Pembrokeshire hosepipe ban comes into force
A drought has been declared across parts of mid and south Wales as a hosepipe ban comes into force in Pembrokeshire today.
North Ceredigion, Teifi, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen, Swansea, Llanelli, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend are now officially in drought, Natural Resources Wales said.
The decision was taken by NRW and the Welsh Government’s Drought Liaison Group was made after discussing the impact the prolonged heatwave had wreaked on the environment, particularly rivers and reservoirs.
Natalie Hall, from NRW, said: “Prolonged dry weather can lead to drought when rainfall remains low.
“This can impact some of our most precious habitats and species as well as systems we often take for granted, such as our water supplies.
“We have decided to declare a state of drought in south-west Wales after it was clear the lack of rain and recent heat have put a huge strain on our rivers, reservoirs and groundwater levels.
“While certain parts of Wales may be experiencing rain, it can still take a long time to recover from drought, making water a precious resource.”
The whole region had just 65.5% of its average rainfall in July and all river levels are lower than expected for this time of the year, with the Ewenny, Teifi and Taf being “exceptionally low”, NRW said
Water levels are so low that in recent days the remnants of Llanwddyn village in Powys, which was flooded in the 19th century to create Lake Vyrnwy reservoir and supply water to Liverpool, has re-emerged.
The rest of the country is also being affected by the dry weather, with Wales experiencing its driest five-month period in 40 years between March and July.
Last year Wales used the equivalent of 356 Olympic pools of water every day and in recent weeks the country’s daily demand has increased by 25%.
Experts have said any rain currently forecast is expected to be short, intense and unlikely to change the situation substantially, with very wet weather needed throughout autumn and winter to ensure recovery.
A temporary hosepipe ban will come into effect today for over 60,000 households served by Llys y Fran reservoir in Pembrokeshire.
The Temporary Use Ban has been introduced following the driest year since 1976, with the county seeing just over 60% of expected rainfall between March and July.
Coupled with record temperatures and record levels of demand for water, water resources in Pembrokeshire have hit drought levels.
Dŵr Cymru says the current situation does not pose an immediate risk to water supplies for the area but it is introducing the ban to conserve supplies over the coming months.
From 08.00am today (August 19th) the ban will come into force for customers in Pembrokeshire and a small adjoining part of Carmarthenshire.
Customers in the affected area have already been sent letters to advise them that they will not be able to use a hosepipe to carry out activities in and around their properties such as watering plants or filling paddling pools or hot tubs.
Ian Christie, Welsh Water’s Managing Director of Water Services said: “As a responsible company, we have detailed plans in place to ensure we continue to supply customers especially when an area falls into drought which includes introducing temporary use bans.
It is not a decision we take lightly because we know the inconvenience it can cause, but if we don’t take action now then there would be a real risk of further restrictions later which is something we really want to avoid for our customers.
“With no significant rain in the forecast it is important that we all work together to make sure the water continues to flow.
“We are also doing our bit as well and have increased the number of people in the area we have finding and fixing leaks. This has seen us increase manpower in the area by 70% which in turn means we are now detecting and fixing 40% more leaks compared to 2021.
“We do however appreciate that customers can get frustrated if a leak isn’t fixed as soon as they report it to us.
“While the majority of leaks are fixed immediately, there are some which can prove to be more complex and requires traffic management so the work can be done safely. These then can take longer however we can assure our customers that we are doing everything we can to fix each one as quickly as we can.”
Mr Christie added: “We really do appreciate the steps people have already taken to limit the amount of water they use but we would urge everyone now in the affected area to respect the ban and not use a hosepipe. There are exceptions, particularly for those holding a Blue Badge or on our Priority Service Register.”
Welsh Water says the ban which starts today only applies to about 4% of its customers.
A full list of what people aren’t allowed to do under the ban and the exceptions can be found on Dŵr Cymru’s website….
Hosepipe bans are being introduced by six water companies across the UK so far, including Thames Water which serves over 15 million customers in Greater London and the surrounding areas.
Bans have been or are imminently due to introduced by South East Water, Southern Water, South West Water and Yorkshire Water.
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