West Cumbria boreholes to be used to help meet water demand during dry weather

United Utilities is planning to introduce harder water into taps across Copeland and parts of Allerdale as it maintains water supplies during the hot dry weather.

The water company has written to residents to explain that it is going to change the blend of water - using more from boreholes in Egremont and less from Ennerdale.

Water Services Director Dr Martin Padley said: “Last year we promised we would keep people informed about any changes to their water supply, and that is why we have written to everyone in the area that will be affected.

“From Sunday 14 July people may notice a greater mineral content in their water supply as we increase the amount of water we take from the local boreholes.”

The company says the reason for the change is to help protect flows in the River Ehen during prolonged dry weather, as agreed with the Environment Agency.

United Utilities is currently constructing a new pipeline and water treatment works to bring soft water from Thirlmere into West Cumbria, however this scheme will not be complete until 2022. In the meantime, the area will be supplied with a mixture of water from Ennerdale and local boreholes.

Under normal conditions the blend of water is 80/20 soft/hard, but from the weekend this is going to begin changing to 50/50.

Dr Padley added: “I can assure everyone that the water will continue to meet the very strict safety standards set out by the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

“I know some residents would prefer us to maintain a softer blend of water but it is essential that we make this change to help protect the local environment during the current hot dry weather. I want to stress that this is a temporary measure and as soon as we can soften the blend again we will. A period of rainfall would improve the position greatly.”

United Utilities is continuing to ask residents to conserve water where possible. The company is supplying around 25 per cent more water than usual to keep pace with a surge in demand caused by the hot weather.

If the heatwave continues the company says it is likely to introduce a hosepipe ban in the West Cumbria area from the end of July. 

These tips to save water can save energy and money as well:

  • Ditch the garden sprinkler – they can use 1,000 litres an hour 
  • Water pots and containers with a watering can not a hosepipe – it directs the water to the roots 
  • Water your garden early in the morning or later in the evening, when there’s less evaporation.
  • Only run your washing machine or dishwasher when you have a full load 
  • Empty your washing up bowl onto the garden – the soap suds help control aphids
  • Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth