According to United Utilities, the North West’s three million homes and 200,000 businesses are using close to a record two billion litres of water a day - around 200 million litres more than usual.
The water company has warned that it is struggling to move water around fast enough in some areas due to high demand from extended good weather, meaning some customers may experience lower water pressure than normal.
‘Exceptionally high demand’
In a statement, the company said domestic restrictions may be required unless water demand drops.
“The prolonged hot weather means the region’s reservoir stores have decreased, with some reservoirs looking more dramatic than others. The reducing reservoir levels are not surprising given the ongoing lack of rainfall and exceptionally high demand.
“We are still encouraging our customers to voluntarily use water efficiently, by avoiding the use of water hungry devices, particularly outside in the garden. However, if demand does not reduce in the next few days we’ll have no choice but to introduce enforced restrictions.”
Impact on industry
Industry is currently responsible for around a third of water taken from freshwater sources in the UK.
Thanks to the opening of the non-domestic water market to competition in 2017, businesses can now shop around for a water supplier that offers water efficiency services as part of their service package.
Nicci Russell, managing director of Waterwise, a non-profit group that is encouraging water suppliers to promote water efficiency, said: “It's important that water retailers offer their customers an opportunity to save water, energy and money through water efficiency services.
“This will also help ensure the resilience of water supply as a whole - crucial for business, society and the environment as we face more frequent and more intense droughts.”
A recent report from the Environment Agency predicted that pressure on UK water supplies will be a major issue in future decades due to climate change and a growing population.