Published On: Tuesday 26 July 2022 12:24

Manx Utilities are introducing a temporary use ban (Hosepipe Ban) from 29 July 2022 following an extremely dry period and an increase in usage over recent weeks, despite a campaign to encourage Island residents to ‘use water wisely’.

The IOM MET Office has confirmed that the UK seasonal modelling for the period July to September is expected to be slightly warmer for much of the time with a high probability of near average rainfall.  Since 2018 we have seen consistently warmer weather during this time of year, whereas prior to 2018 temperatures were consistently close to average with no unusual or rare conditions that had an impact on raw water stocks.

The spring this year has been unusually dry with rainfall in March and April below average for this time of year.  Rainfall in June was 28.9mm versus the average of 62.9mm; approximately 50% less than usual for this time of year.  This meant that the water stocks were slightly below average at the onset of summer.  Manx Utilities Water Resilience Team monitor reservoir levels throughout the year and currently levels are following the pattern of 2018 where a hosepipe ban was introduced in early June that year.  Unfortunately, the impact is also felt by some of our Island Rivers whose aquatic species are dependent upon compensation flows provided from Sulby Reservoir, which will need to be reduced to preserve essential drinking water supplies through the summer.  As in previous years, there will be some periods of rain, as was experienced this weekend, however the evaporation rate means that this has little or no impact on reservoir levels, particularly as the dry ground is retaining any downpours that may occur. 

Manx Utilities have also observed an unusually high demand for water.  Demand has been consistently above average for the last two years and proved in recent weeks to be significantly higher than expected for this time of year.

Once again, Manx Utilities are asking residents to consider wise and essential only choices for utilising the Island’s drinking water supply.  Jet-washing a drive, watering a garden with a hosepipe, washing a car are not essential for life, so please cherish every single drop.  For those who choose to ignore the temporary use ban, Manx Utilities can prosecute individuals for non-compliance and impose fines of up to £2,000.

Chairman, Rob Callister MHK said, “As with many water utility organisations, Climate Change is having a profound effect on raw water supplies across the globe and the Isle of Man is not immune.  However, as an Island it is important to remember that the supply we have is the only one available to us, so we must all consider what we believe to be essential use and adhere to the provisions of the temporary use ban, until the availability of raw water stocks stabilises.  Although the restrictions apply to domestic users we would also ask businesses to consider their water use needs and activities to protect our Island’s supply.”