Gardeners have been instructed to avoid sprinkler operation at night (Image: Rex)
The British have been told to stop using sprinklers as the country continues to bake amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Gardeners are encouraged to be considerate of their water consumption in the evenings. The Met Office is expected to confirm today that the final month was England’s driest May since 1896.
The demand by industry association Water UK to avoid the use of sprinklers at night comes from the fact that the weather is dry and the lockdown continues to lead to high demand for water. Britain’s largest water company, United Utilities, also urged households not to wash their cars or use lawn sprinklers.
Forecasters say the sunny weekend weather, with crowds flocking to beaches and beauty spots across England ahead of today’s lockdown restrictions, will last until the middle of this week.
Water UK insists there is no shortage of water, but anyone using more while enjoying the sunny outdoor weather may result in lower water pressure, which will affect how well it flows out of the taps.
Forest fires have been recorded across the UK in the past few days as firefighters warned that barbecuing on dry ground is a major risk.
Water companies saw an enormous increase in demand for water from households, especially in the evening. Consumption increased by 20% and in some areas peak demand for the season was up to 40% above normal.
The combination of the lockdown that has kept people at home and the sunny, dry weather is increasing the demand from households that use water in the garden.
Dry banks at Dowry Reservoir in Oldham on Friday May 29 (Image: PA)
If gardeners looking to maintain lawns and flower beds in dry weather can avoid using a garden sprinkler during peak evening hours, it would make a big difference to water pressure, Water UK said.
Meanwhile, images have surfaced showing the state of reservoirs in the UK. Some are drying up dramatically due to lack of rainfall and warm weather.
Other simple steps to reducing water usage include taking shorter showers, making sure the dishwasher is full and environmentally friendly before running it, and reusing paddling pool water on the flower beds.
However, the industry association stressed that people should continue to follow guidelines to protect their health during the pandemic by making sure they wash their hands regularly.
Wildfire that broke out on Thursley Common near Godalming was one of many that hit the UK last week (Image: Alamy Live News).
And after a wet winter there is a good water supply in the reservoirs and there are currently no plans for hose bans in the UK, Water UK said.
Managing Director Christine McGourty added, “It’s a great time to be out in the sun when you can, but this record-breaking sunny weather brings record peak demands on water.
“Just small changes throughout the day will make all the difference, and there are many more tips on how to manage water during these unprecedented times.
“The less water we use at peak times, the less likely it is that water is ‘under pressure’.”
Meanwhile, United Utilities officials said workers supplied an additional 4.6 billion liters of water during the lockdown in northwest England, but it was being used in homes and gardens “faster” than they could physically reach.
And they warned that other water companies across the UK are seeing the same high demand.
In an email to customers, the company told its seven million customers to water pots and hang baskets either early in the morning or late at night to reduce evaporation in the midday sun.
The warnings come just three months after Storm Dennis wreaked flood disasters across the UK and parts of north-west England saw more than a month of rain in 24 hours.
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