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Drought Declared in Surrey

Published on: 13 Aug, 2022
Updated on: 15 Aug, 2022

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

As drought is declared in Surrey during the driest UK summer in 50 years, councils and services across the county have been taking measures to save water.

The temperatures are forecast to remain high over the weekend, and measures such as hosepipe bans by water companiesby could be on the cards.

See also: Woman Found Parched in Shere as Village Left Without Water

From watering plants only from tanks which collect rainwater, suspending boat journeys on part of the Basingstoke Canal and no charity car washes for the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, measures are being taken across the county to save water.

A Surrey County Council spokesperson said all the authority’s services were reviewing their water usage and monitoring the restrictions coming into force in the county.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, covered by the county council, had temporarily stopped hosting charity car washes and advised crews to be mindful where possible, such as performing dry drills.

The spokesperson said: “As a big user of water, we’re going to be taking reasonable steps to play our part in this, without affecting operations.”

The watering of new trees planted last autumn and plants at the county council’s main offices was being reviewed, as were low water levels on the Basingstoke Canal.

The spokesperson said: “We have suspended boat navigation between Aldershot and Brookwood to help address [low water levels].

“Canoeing and paddlesports are continuing but may need to be restricted if levels continue to fall.

“We’re also working with the Angling Association and Environment Agency to monitor fish welfare.”

Guildford Borough Council

Cllr James Steel

Guildford Borough Council’s lead councillor for environment and regulation, Cllr James Steel, said the authority was “doing all it could” to reduce water usage without affecting service delivery.

He said: “If the dry period continues, we will re-evaluate what we are doing.

“We may have to limit our water usage further, if water companies struggle to supply water to homes within the borough.”

Cllr Steel said fresh treated water would be added to the council’s pools and sports pitches were watered to maintain a safe playing surface where appropriate.

He said shared community facilities, such as the recently resurfaced paddling pool could help to reduce domestic use, and that the parks department recycled water where possible.

He added: “When it comes to community services our main priority is to keep our most vulnerable residents healthy and safe.

“We encourage all residents to follow heat health messages in this hot weather.”

See also: Local Hose Pipe Ban Expected Soon While a Quarter of Water Supplied is Lost to Leaks

 

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