River Arun: Sussex households need to be 'efficient' in their water use after dry March and April

Households in West Sussex are being asked to be efficient with their water use this summer - after an 'unusually' dry March and April

Households in West Sussex are being asked to be efficient with their water use this summer - after an 'unusually' dry March and April.

Southern Water gave this advice, after concerns were raised on social media about water problems in the county this summer, due to the low water level of the River Arun.

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A Southern Water spokesperson said: "Our region is one of the most water-stressed in the country. We have less water per capita than Morocco or the Yemen so managing this precious resource is vital to serve customers – and to leave water in nature to protect vital habitats. That is why we ask our customers to be as efficient with water as they can."

Concerns were raised on social media about water problems in the county this summer, due to the low water level of the River Arun.

The Environment Agency said it was monitoring the River Arun situation very carefully and stated there were currently no reports of the low water flow having an impact on the local environment.

However, the public body suggested turning off taps, getting a water butt for the garden, or only using your washing machine when it was full - would play a 'critical role' in protecting water resources for the future.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Some rivers in South East England have responded to the drier weather since mid-March and are currently below normal flows, although there are no reports of impacts on the local environment.

“We are monitoring the water situation closely and continue to work with water companies and other abstractors to monitor water resources. We are also ensuring water companies drought plans are up to date and are activated if and when needed.

Southern Water suggests customers should look to cut shower times from the UK average of eight minutes to four

“We can all do our part to use water wisely, reduce our usage and manage this precious resource. Simple steps – whether it’s turning off taps, getting a water butt for the garden, or only using your washing machine when it’s full – will play a critical part in protecting our water resources for future generations.”

Southern Water suggests customers should look to cut shower times from the UK average of eight minutes to four - claiming it would save the average West Sussex family hundreds of pounds a year in water bills and energy costs.

The spokesperson for the company continued: "It is true that March and April have been unusually dry. April had only a third of average rainfall across our region and March was also drier than normal. This winter when water resources were recharging we had 90 per cent of average rainfall. We benefited from an extremely wet October when more than double (230 per cent) of average rain fell.

"A bigger issue this summer will be the huge increase in demand we seen in hot weather. On an ordinary day we supply around 540 million litres of water. In summer this can rise to more than 650 million litres. Then the challenge is to treat water and pump it quickly enough to customers to keep the pressure up – just like when you’re in a shower upstairs and someone flushes a loo downstairs.”

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