Published on: 28 Mar 2023
By: Dr Dominic Cook
A mild winter followed by a wetter-than-average summer occurred in the UK this year, creating some respite for UK water companies and the depleted levels of their reservoirs, as witnessed in 2022. September, however, created a break in the trend with the "longest September heat wave on record" (paraphrasing popular press), resulting in a sprint by water companies to cope with the extra demand from the huge number of paddling pools sold very cheaply in UK supermarkets!
A 10-foot paddling pool can be bought for under £25 and holds 3,800 litres of water!
Whilst this post is partly to raise awareness of the true value of drinking water, and a plea for restrictions on the size of paddling pools that can be purchased in the UK, it is also a call to water companies to plan and manage seasonal demand.
The mobilisation of discolouration material in distribution networks is caused by an increase in the flow in the networks' pipes above which they have been previously conditioned to cope with. This can result in customers experiencing discoloured water, and regulatory penalties to the water companies.
Water companies need to make a date
Seasonal analysis of customer discolouration complaints can give great insight into areas of the network susceptible to mobilisation, such as that resulting from increased customer demand in the summer -and winter bursts in the colder months.
Now that winter is approaching, water companies should proactively flush the District Meter Area DMAsand condition the trunk mains in preparation for the winter bursts. Then in March, water companies should change focus to mains conditioning and flushing in areas susceptible to increased complaints in the summer due to high customer demand.
Seasonal demand management is just one 'tool in the box' for reducing discolouration customer contacts. WRc offers comprehensive discolouration management services, covering the entire process from catchment management to consumer messaging.
For more information on how #teamWRc can help with your network water quality issues visit our service page.