Water Resources Update from Affinity Water

Affinity Water have written to the Parish Council with some news and information:-


Water Resources Update
10 October 2017

Dear Councillor

Despite the rainfall over the summer, the water in the aquifers (porous rock where groundwater is stored) that we use to supply your water is below average.

This is important as 60% of the water we supply to you comes from these underground sources. Aquifers only usually fill up from rainfall during autumn and winter when there is less plant growth and evaporation.
We welcomed the rainfall between May and September, this benefited the environment and helped reduce the demand for water. However, this was limited in comparison to the low rainfall over the last year, particularly during the autumn and winter recharge season, which typically runs from October to March.
Looking ahead, we are now entering this important recharge season when we would typically see a recharge of our aquifers if there is sufficient rainfall.
We will need to see an above average amount of rainfall before we start to see groundwater return to average levels.  
The below average groundwater levels are mainly affecting our Central and Southeast regions. Our Central region covers people in parts of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey and the London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon and parts of the London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Enfield. Our Southeast region covers the Folkestone and Dover areas of Kent.

What we’re doing

We continue to monitor the situation closely with clear plans in place to make sure we’re fully prepared, should we experience another dry autumn and winter in 2017 / 18. 

In June, we launched our ‘Keep Track of the Tap’ campaign to ensure customers have the advice and practical help they need to save water. This campaign included posting a leaflet to 1.7 million households and advertising on radio, print and local busses. We also worked closely with local and national journalists to help promote our water saving messages and raise awareness of our resources position.

We are also working in collaboration with national environmental charity, Hubbub to persuade people to change behaviour to save water through an innovative behaviour change campaign.

As part of the campaign, Hubbub is supporting a number of households in Watford and Harlow to help them reduce their water use by up to 20%. The householders received a water saving kit filled with useful water saving goods such as shower timers, wash bowls and a clothes refresher.
Households are supporting each other via a private Facebook group, which is providing useful insight for further development of the campaign.
The campaign also includes events at high footfall locations to encourage local people to save water and join the campaign.
So far, the campaign has gathered significant local and national media coverage and we are keen to raise more awareness around #TapChat.
Collaboration is key – we would love for you to join #TapChat and encourage others to do the same to help people reduce the amount of water they use.
We are continuing to work closely with the Environment Agency, Defra and other water companies on our plans to make sure that any impacts on customers are minimised and that consistent advice is being given.

We operate in areas which are designated as suffering from serious water stress* and we face a growing population. We need to leave more water in the environment, whilst making sure we have enough water. We can only do this by working in partnership with our customers to reduce demand for water.
Over the last two years we have made significant investments in driving down leakage whilst helping our customers use less water.
We’ve been installing meters as part of our Water Saving Programme since January 2015.

Meters empower customers to use less water, because they are able to see how much they use. Where we have installed meters in the past, we have seen a reduction in water use of 16% on average.
We offer practical help to our customers to save water, energy and money through our FREE Home Water Efficiency Checks with every meter fitted in our Water Saving Programme. So far, over 51,000 customers have taken advantage of this free service.
We also offer FREE water saving devices to all of our customers on request, please visit www.affinitywater.co.uk/savewater
Our Education Team engages with thousands of students a year in schools and at our Education Centre in Bushey to enrich school curriculums and promote water efficiency. Earlier this year, our education team also partnered with science education specialists ‘Mad Science’ to create live ‘Action H20’ events for key stage 1 & 2 pupils. These fun and interactive sessions focussed on the importance of saving water and featured awe inspiring experiments with dry ice clouds and even a ‘toothpaste race’.
We will keep you updated on the situation with regular communications. In the meantime, if you would like any further information please contact us at news@affinitywater.co.uk
Yours faithfully

Mike Pocock
Director of Asset Strategy
Affinity Water