West Cumbrians urged to save water and help raise cash for Hospice at Home West Cumbria

People in West Cumbria could help raise thousands of pounds for a charity close to the area’s heart – just by using a bit less water a day.

Water company United Utilities hopes that by joining forces with local community cause Hospice at Home West Cumbria, it will encourage people to adopt simple everyday steps to save water.

If people living in Copeland and Allerdale can save 150 million litres of water by the end of July the company will donate £25,000 to Hospice at Home West Cumbria.

As water usage goes down, the funds raised will go up and up.

United Utilities’ customer director Lou Beardmore said saving water was always a good idea but was especially important right now, after an unusually dry start to the year and little immediate prospect of lots of rain.

“The recent warm dry weather, coupled with more people at home during the lockdown, has seen demand for water on some days reach very high levels. On the hottest days, in some parts of the region, we’ve been producing 22 per cent more water than normal just to keep up with what people are using. That’s more than 30 litres extra per person.

“With no significant rain forecast any time soon, these conditions are taking a heavy toll on the water sources we share with the environment. Our reservoir levels are lower than normal.”

If people in West Cumbria can save 150 million litres of water by the end of July – that’s about 15 litres per person, per day - United Utilities will donate £25,000 to the hospice.

To put saving 15 litres a day in context, the average person uses about 141 litres of water a day. Turning off the tap when brushing teeth saves around 12 litres, and knocking a minute off your daily shower can save nine.

Progress will be monitored using United Utilities’ demand tracking systems and data from meters installed on its network of pipes in the town.

“We don’t want to spoil people’s enjoyment and obviously it’s really important we’re all continuing to follow the guidelines around hygiene and hand-washing due to Covid-19, so we are trying to find new ways to encourage people to be more water efficient. If we can encourage everyone in Allerdale and Copeland to change one everyday thing it would add up to a huge difference,” said Lou.

“People tend to come together to support a local cause, so we’re hoping that raising money for Hospice at Home West Cumbria, which provides an invaluable service and support to the community at large, will really inspire people. And if the campaign is successful, we could expand it to other parts of Cumbria. It could also influence our future strategies to encourage more water efficient behaviours in general.

United Utilities wants people to get behind the campaign by sharing it, looking at what they can do at home or in their own organisations to use a little less water each day and, of course, help support the hospice.

Hospice at Home West Cumbria’s Community Fundraising Team Lead Stella Walsh said: “We are delighted to team up with United Utilities for this campaign which will not only save water and the environment – but also support the vital services we provide across West Cumbria. We hope our community will pull together and really make an effort to support us in this joint campaign.

“All our recent fundraising events have been cancelled and our charity shops are still closed, so if we can reach the target of 150 million litres and receive a donation of £25,000, it would be incredible and will go a long way to helping us bridge the gap in our income.”

From today (June 16), people using social media will be encouraged to share regular updates and the things they are doing to save water – photos or videos for example.

Keep checking the webpage www.unitedutilities.com/cumbria-save-water to check progress.