Have your say on water company plans

Water bosses are seeking views on their plans to tackle future droughts in the North West.

United Utilities has launched a consultation on its new Drought Plan and people have until 11 January to tell the company what they think.

All water companies have a legal duty to update their drought plans regularly. The plans set out in comprehensive detail the measures they will take, and when, to safeguard vital water supplies while minimising the effect on the environment.

Depending on how bad the situation was, that could potentially include things like hosepipe bans, drought orders or even water restrictions.

United Utilities escaped the drought which hit other parts of the country earlier this year. The last drought in the North West was in 2010, when the company imposed a six-week hosepipe ban in parts of the region to help preserve water. It was the first ban the region had seen in 14 years. No further actions were needed.

Dr Richard Blackwell, United Utilities’ Supply Demand Manager said with seven million customers and some of the most precious and protected habitats in the UK, the North West had its own unique issues.

“Despite having a reputation for wet weather, the North West is not immune to the risk of drought. Droughts can happen at any time of year and they’re all different. We have to be able to cope with anything.

“We are quite unique in that 90 per cent of all our drinking water in the North West comes from reservoirs and rivers, rather than groundwater sources. The rest of the UK only gets an average of 60 per cent of its water from reservoirs and rivers.”

United Utilities has already spoken to a vast number of specialist groups and stakeholders in writing its plan. These include neighbouring water companies, the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales.

A number of workshops are being held across the region for key partners, but experts would also like to hear the views of customers.

You can download a copy of United Utilities’ Draft Drought Plan 2012 on its corporate website at corporate.unitedutilities.com/waterresourcesplan. Comments to DEFRA must be received by January 11, 2013.

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