West Cumbria/Copeland water quality


Since the letter below was sent on 26 7 21 we’ve experienced some periods of rain which currently mean we do not need to make any changes to the current blend of your water. This means we have NOT had to increase the amount of borehole water at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and may still need to change the blend next week if levels in Ennerdale reservoir drop again. We will therefore keep this page updated and will confirm if and when we need to increase the amount of borehole water.

We are grateful for your support to help by saving water around the home and garden so we can continue to balance the needs of customers and help protect the precious environment in your area.


UPDATED 26 7 21

Improving the current water resources situation in West Cumbria is one of the biggest projects we are currently undertaking in the North West. When construction of our new water main is completed by early 2022, the area will then receive its water from Thirlmere reservoir, rather than Ennerdale Water which we need to stop using due to its environmental importance to the area.


Reducing the water we take from Ennerdale

Until the new pipeline is up and running, we have to be very careful about the amount of water we take from Ennerdale so as not to endanger protected species whilst balancing the needs of the local community. We therefore made a commitment, following an agreement with the Environment Agency, that we would source 80 per cent of your water from Ennerdale Water and 20 per cent from local boreholes.

A prolonged dry period was highlighted as the only time we would need to review whether we could continue to keep to that blend. We’ve been enjoying some fabulous sunny weather recently but unfortunately, low rainfall over the previous few weeks has resulted in water levels in Ennerdale being lower than we’d like them to be. With the outlook showing a continued period of low rainfall, we are required to take steps now to ensure you continue to receive water to your taps if the drier spell continues over the summer months.


Changing the blend of your tap water

Therefore, from later this week we may need to change the blend of the water that is supplied to West Cumbria by increasing the amount of water from the boreholes. This means the blend of your water, if we had to make the change, would be 50/50, rather than 80/20 as it is at the moment. We’ll confirm if we need to make this change on our website at here.

I know that similar changes we’ve made to your tap water in the past have caused concern but I want to reassure you that your water will continue to be of the highest quality expected by the Drinking Water Inspectorate and will be safe to drink and use as normal. Borehole water undergoes the same rigorous treatment process as our other water sources such as lake water and we will continue to carry out routine testing of the water supply to ensure it meets the high water quality standards expected.


Only making these changes for as long as is necessary


If the water resources levels continue to drop and there remains settled dry weather then we would need to make this change. We will only supply water at this blend for the time it is absolutely necessary in relation to the water resources situation in West Cumbria. A period of rainfall would improve that position and we would not delay returning to your normal 80/20 blend as soon as we receive enough rain for water levels at Ennerdale to increase.

Please help us by saving water around the home and garden

We would really appreciate your support during this time so together we can preserve water supplies to make sure everyone has what they need for their most essential needs and to protect the environment and wildlife which is so unique to West Cumbria.

During the last 15 months, we’ve all been spending a lot more time at home due to coronavirus restrictions and as such, water usage has increased. Therefore, anything you can do to use water wisely at this time would be appreciated but please remember to continue to follow government advice around hygiene and hand washing to limit the spread of the virus.

Small things such as turning off the tap when you brush your teeth and using a watering can instead of a sprinkler or hosepipe can make all the difference. You can find lots of hints and tips on how to save water at our website here  where you can also order free items to help you reduce the amount of water used in the home.

We’ll also be making more of our teams available to repair leaks and bursts across your area. So if you spot any leaks when you are out and about, please let us know here so we can fix them.

Further information

Please refer to our Question and Answer document for further information about these temporary changes.

We have a dedicated team who will be able to answer your questions specifically about the supply arrangements in West Cumbria and you can contact them at here. If you include your phone number we’ll also call you back at a time to suit you.

Thank you for your continued patience as we look to put in place a long term solution to the water resources issue in West Cumbria.