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  • Forty years since the hosepipe ban

    Anyone who was around in 1976 will doubtless remember the searing heat and drought conditions – not to mention the last time our customers were hit with a hosepipe ban.

    Hosepipe ban

    Remarkably, it is 40 years since we were last forced to impose the restriction in response to the most severe water shortage in living memory.

    Parts of the region went 45 days without a drop of rain, causing one of the most significant droughts since records ban.

    But unprecedented efforts to reduce consumption and new supply schemes meant a full-blown crisis was averted, and we believe a repeat of the 1976 ban is now unlikely due to investment in a vast new supply grid and massively reduced leakage on our network.

    Luke deVial, head of water markets and resources, said: "We have an ongoing £230 million water supply grid project which is designed to re-direct surplus water on our network to areas where it is more scarce.

    "The grid is more than 200 kilometres (124 miles) long, comprises over 50 individual schemes across Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset and will enable us to meet demand for the next 25 years - without the need to develop new resources.

    "In addition, we have halved leakage in the last 20 years and it is fair to say there are now much better connections between water companies.

    "Customers also tend to use water more wisely now than they did in 1976, with more and more households choosing to be on meters and better awareness generally of how to look after our natural resources."

    As part of the grid scheme, Wessex Water is building a new supply pipe from Corfe Mullen in Dorset to Salisbury. 


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