Restrictions on the Use of Water
Manx Utilities are introducing a temporary use ban (Hosepipe Ban) from 5 June 2020. The ban is being introduced due to the extremely dry period the Island has been experiencing with long spells of sunshine from mid-March. The small periods of rainfall have yielded little in terms of topping up the Island’s reservoirs and demand has increased.
The IOM Meteorological Office confirmed spring 2020 as the driest since 1984 with only 78.7mm of rainfall compared to the long-term average of 172mm, and with predictions of continued often warmer than average weather through the coming months.
Reservoir levels and water use are monitored constantly and this data, in addition to the long-term predictions provided by the Meteorological Office, has necessitated this restriction to preserve our essential drinking water supplies through the summer and beyond. Whilst there will be some periods of rain, the levels of streams and groundwater that feed our reservoirs are unusually low due to the extended period of warm, generally dry weather (often referred to as a hydrological drought) and therefore less water is being received into the reservoirs than would normally be expected.
Manx Utilities are asking residents to consider wise choices for water use. Washing hands is a priority in addition to ensuring availability of clean drinking water. Jet-washing a drive, watering a garden with a hosepipe, washing a car are not essential for life, so please cherish every single drop.
As has been experienced in previous years, the increased probability of warmer weather requires that Manx Utilities takes action to manage our Island’s decreasing water stocks and has the powers to prosecute individuals for non-compliance with this ban and impose a fine of up to £2,000.
Chairman, Tim Baker MHK said, “I doubt this has come as a surprise to many people given the very warm and dry weather our Island has enjoyed recently. The Board agreed the implementation of our drought plan and associated restrictions at my first meeting as Chairman last week and we would like to thank the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture for their support to temporarily reduce the volume of compensation water that is distributed to the Island’s rivers from our reservoirs. This Temporary Use Ban supplements that reduction and together these actions will help preserve our water supplies. We expect rainfall to continue below usual levels in the coming weeks and it is essential to safeguard the raw water stocks at our reservoirs. We know that our Island can respond extremely well when challenged and I am sure the Manx people will understand the need for this action and respond accordingly.”