The water supplier with the amazingly utilitarian name of United Utilities has asked for permission to start taking extra water out of the Lake District's reserves, thanks to the fact that it hasn't rained quite as much as it usually does.
The application would see the utility taking additional water from Lake Ullswater, Lake Windermere and Ennerdale Water to supply the network of
leaky pipes homes it supplies, although it's not as simple as opening one of those big taps a bit more or putting in a fatter pipe. The Environment Agency is first checking it wouldn't damage the lakes or their wildlife to do so, plus there's a need for a public consultation and a review before permission is likely to be granted. By which time it might be August and we might be moaning about how it hasn't stopped raining for three weeks and people in Somerset will be pumping water out of their houses again.
UU's Martin Padley said: "The reducing raw water reservoir levels are not surprising given the ongoing lack of rainfall. Applying for drought permits is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we are working closely with the Environment Agency to ensure that water supplies are protected for both customers and the environment." [Guardian]