At long last it seems that summer has arrived. After the wettest ever spring we at least have this week’s sunshine to enjoy. The unusual weather has brought enormous challenges for the Government and the utility companies.
Last week I met with the water companies that cover Dartford to discuss a range of issues covering hose pipe bans, leakages and metering. Locally, we have found ourselves in the ridiculous situation of having both a hose pipe ban and flood alerts this year!
Many people see water metering as a fair way of people paying for the amount of water they use and that the principles that apply for using electricity and gas should apply to water. There is though a counter argument that people should not have water meters forced upon them, particularly those households with families on low incomes. We clearly do not want to end up with a situation where families feel unable to afford to turn a tap on.
The water companies have invested record amounts in tackling leaks in their pipelines. We will never reach a situation where water systems are completely leak free but clearly the wastage of water through leakage needs to be kept to a minimum.
Thankfully we have a fairly temperate climate but the down side of this is that we can be slow to react to extremes of weather. The challenge for water companies is to ensure that whenever we turn on our taps we have clean, affordable water flowing whatever the weather conditions are. With more demands on our water than ever before this will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future.