Published: 11:12, 08 August 2020
| Updated: 19:48, 10 August 2020
A water company is warning its customers they could be without tap water today unless usage is cut.
South East Water which is based in Snodland and serves Ashford, Maidstone, Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, recorded a record-breaking demand yesterday on the hottest day of the year so far.
KMTV's report on the water shortage
Despite producing an extra 150 million litres of drinking water a day, the spike from residents and visitors on staycations is putting a strain on the network with some customers experiencing very low pressure or no water at all.
Steve Andrews, head of central operations at the company, said: “Many people don’t realise that water is a fresh product which is produced 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“When we draw water from deep underground or from rivers it has to be treated to a very high standard before being sent along our 9,000 miles of pipe to our 2.2 million customers.
“Our water technicians have been working round the clock to produce this extra drinking water, the equivalent of almost half a million baths, but with this record amount of water being used every day it is getting harder to keep up."
He added: “I would like to say thank-you to our many water-savvy customers who are already helping by being water-aware. But I am now appealing to everyone to keep water for essential use only while the heat is on this weekend and next week.”
The company is asking customers to put away their hose pipes, garden sprinklers and water toys to ensure everyone has enough water to drink, cook, wash and clean.
It says there is still enough water in reservoirs but the sustained period of hot weather since May is leading to heavier demand in the mornings and early evenings.
Mr Andrews said: “We are asking everyone to think carefully before turning on the garden tap and see if they can capture and use the water twice, such as washing hands over a bowl and then using that water on the plants.
“We are also asking them not to wash their cars. They should also allow their lawns to turn golden as grass will soon recover when the rain returns next week.
“I was shocked to be told that the average paddling pool now needs 530 litres of water - more than three times the daily amount of water usually used by one person. This is adding to the high demand for water."
A spokesman stressed: "There is no hosepipe ban in place. We are just asking people to choose not to use it."
Top tips for paddling pools
* Keep paddling pools covered when not in use to save refilling
* Use a small bowl to clean feet before getting into the pool
* Don’t fill pools in the early evening when demand is higher
* When you need to change the water empty it on the garden or into a water butt
Hundreds of people headed to the coast to take a dip in the sea yesterday as temperatures soared to the high 30s.
For more advice and free water-saving devices visit www.southeastwater.co.uk/savewater.