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You are here : At Home > My Water > High Demand

High Demand and low water pressure

Life has changed so much since the Covid-19 outbreak and with many more of us at home we have seen a big increase in the demand for water.

Last month was the driest May on record in England and the sunniest start to the Spring since records began in 1929. This has driven record demand for water. In fact, we have never seen this level of demand in our 130-year history.

Why is there low water pressure during hot weather>

 

How we are working to meet demand

With temperatures set to rise, we are working round the clock to keep the water flowing this summer. We’ve put an additional 108 million litres of water a day into our network of pipes. This is the equivalent of supplying 400,000 extra customers.

Our teams are working to fix leaks - we have driven our leakage down to its lowest point ever. This means there's more water in the network and available for our customers

 

Save water where you can

We’re asking for your help to save water where you can, to help us and your community through the summer.

Some simple changes can make a huge difference.

  • Avoid sprinklers and hosepipes - which can save an incredible 1,000 litres an hour!
  • Only use the dishwasher and washing machine when they’re full – this uses less water than two half loads.
  • Turning off the tap every time you brush your teeth - saves around six litres a minute

Are you affected by low water pressure?

If you live in any of the areas below, you may be experiencing low water pressure.

Here is the latest update on what we are doing to ensure we get enough water to you and your area.

Postcode/location Update
Edgware, Greenford, Harrow, Middlesex, Mill Hill, Northolt, Pinner, Ruislip, South Harrow, South Ruislip, Wembley

If you live in any of these areas, you may experience lower pressure than normal between 6am – 10am and 5.30pm – 11pm. We are working hard to pump more water into the network to help meet the demand and your pressure should improve outside of these times. You can help too by avoiding the use of hosepipes and sprinklers.

There may be other reasons why you might be experiencing low pressure at the home, see below for helpful advice and tips:


Has the colour of your water changed?

Low pressure and supply interruptions can have knock on effects. You may notice your water is white and cloudy, or a discolouration that can look a lot like tea! This is nothing to worry about and there a few simple things you can do yourself to get this back to normal.

 

Appearance of your water

Any changes in the way your water looks can seem a bit worrying but in most cases there is a simple explanation and an easy way to put things right.

 

Cloudy Water

Cloudy
Air in the water is the most common cause of white, cloudy or milky looking water.
Learn more >

Blue Water

Brown
Some of our mains are made of iron which can slowly corrode and produce small quantities of iron sediment.
Learn more >

Brown Water

Blue
If your water has a blue tint it might mean that your water has been standing in copper pipes.
Learn more >

Pink Water

Pink
If you see pink/orange particles this could be caused by a water softener.
Learn more >

 

Frequently asked questions

  • When will my pressure be fixed?

    Your pressure should improve outside peak demand times or when demand comes back down to normal levels.

    Our engineers are working around the clock to treat and pump more water into the network to meet the additional demand and to adjust the network to get water to where it’s needed most. However, in areas where there is low pressure, it is simply being used faster than we can put it in.

    Hot spells of weather cause huge spikes in demand so we are asking customers to be mindful of their water use during this time.

  • What is peak time? and why do I still not have water at 10pm or after?

    ‘Peak time’ means when demand for water is at its highest during the day. 

    Our usual peak demand times are 7am – 9am and 5pm – 9pm.

    However, during hot and dry weather, we can experience sustained high demand peaks between 7am – 11am and 4pm to 11pm.

  • When will this be resolved? Is this going to last all summer?

    Spells of hot and dry weather combined with more people at home due to Coronavirus means we are experiencing unprecedented demand for water. We’re doing our bit by maximizing the amount of water we can put into the network and we are asking customers to play a part too by taking steps to save water, such as avoiding sprinklers and hosepipes. We also ask sports pitches to stop watering their grounds during spells of hot weather to help ease demand on the network. 

    If demand for water comes down, combined with the additional water our engineers are pumping into the network, then pressures will improve.

  • I haven’t experienced this before, why is this happening? 

    Warm weather with more people staying at home has significantly increased the demand for water. 

    We are having to treat and pump an additional 108 million litres of water every day on average to meet the increase in demand, which is the equivalent of supplying an extra 400,000 customers.

  • Why aren't you considering a temporary ban on hosepipes/sprinklers etc?

    Hosepipe bans are introduced during water supply droughts. Following the heavy autumn and winter rainfall, water sources are in a good position. 

    We are not able to introduce a ban on hosepipes due to high demand for water, when sources are good. We want to work with customers to help reduce demand by avoiding non-essential use of water.

  • Due to COVID-19 I should be able to wash my hands why can’t you implement a temporary ban for non-essential usage?

    We are really sorry if you have experienced a loss of supply and are unable to wash your hands. 

    If demand for water comes down, combined with the additional water our engineers are pumping into the network, then pressures will improve. 

    Hosepipe bans are introduced during water supply droughts. Following the heavy autumn and winter rainfall, water sources are in a good position. 

    We are not able to introduce a ban on hosepipes due to high demand for water, when sources are good. We want to work with customers to help reduce demand by avoiding non-essential use of water.

  • What are you doing about your infrastructure to prevent this from happening?

    Between 2015 – 2020, we invested over £500 million on our network to increase storage capacity, find and fix leaks, maintain high standards of water quality and renew and lay new water mains.

    We’ve also been working hard on our network - we have driven our leakage down to its lowest point ever and have teams working round the clock to keep driving it lower.

    By 2025, we will have gone even further by investing an additional £788 million on our network. 

    However, the current demand for water is unprecedented with more people at home combined with the hot weather. In some cases, customers are using 40% more water than they would use normally.

    Our production sites are running beyond maximum capacity to treat and pump more water into the network to meet demand. 

    Customers can play a part too by using water for essential use only such as drinking, washing and cooking and avoiding non-essential use.  For tips on how to save water and for FREE water saving devices, please visit affinitywater.co.uk/savewater

    If we see a reduction in the demand for water combined with the additional water our engineers are pumping into the network, then pressures will improve.

  • Am I entitled to compensation?

    We operate to a water industry scheme which guarantees the levels of service to our customers.

    The Guaranteed Standards Scheme covers areas such as water pressure, interruption to supplies and emergency incidents. 

    Our teams investigate incidents of low pressure and will contact customers who are eligible for compensation. 

    Further Information

    • If we fail to meet these levels of service we will compensate customers, subject to those factors that are within our control. 
    • If the water pressure in our pipework falls below seven metres static head (a technical term used to measure water pressure) at the boundary of your property on two occasions, each one lasting one hour or more in any 28 day period, we will automatically pay you £25. 
    • You can only receive one payment under this guarantee in any financial year (1 April to 31March). This guarantee does not apply if the low pressure is caused by essential work we have to do to our water pipe network, or if there is a drought.
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