Aerial video: Remembering the time Yorkshire ran dry

  • Yorkshire Water’s call for greater water conservation comes 20 years after region was hit by drought
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FROM the air, Scammonden Reservoir shimmers like coloured glass, an oasis amid the wild lunar landscape of West Yorkshire’s moors.

But it is only when you see it from the air that you really begin to appreciate the scale of our rivers and reservoirs.

Booth Wood Reservoir  by the M62 near Ripponden. Picture by Tony Johnson

Booth Wood Reservoir by the M62 near Ripponden. Picture by Tony Johnson

At the moment, Yorkshire’s reservoirs are around 92 per cent full - which is pretty good for this time of year.

However, it has not always been like this. Large swathes of Yorkshire were hit by drought during the scorching summer of 1995, when some of our county’s reservoirs resembled small deserts.

The scale of the drought caught many people by surprise and at the time every burst water main made headlines. Water companies vowed to improve their customer service, increase investment and crackdown on the amount of water lost through leaks.

Two decades on from this and Yorkshire Water has launched its annual ‘Save A Little, Save A Lot’ campaign to tie in with World Environment Day.

Scammonden Reservoir shimmers like coloured glass, an oasis amid the wild lunar landscape of West Yorkshire's moors.

Scammonden Reservoir shimmers like coloured glass, an oasis amid the wild lunar landscape of West Yorkshire's moors.

The aim of its campaign is to show that using water more efficiently is not only good for the environment but can also help lower utility bills.

Yorkshire Water provides around 1.24 billion litres of water a day and wants to encourage customers to think more carefully about how they use water in their homes.

Each customer uses, on average, between 100 and 150 litres of water a day, but water bosses point out that small things like turning the tap off when brushing your teeth can save seven litres per person, per day.

Other cost saving tips include taking a shower rather than having a bath, which can save around 10 litres of water a day, and making sure the washing machine is full before using it - which can save households up to eight litres a day.

Neil Dewis, head of service delivery at Yorkshire Water at Scammonden Reservoir in West Yorkshire. Picture by Tony Johnson

Neil Dewis, head of service delivery at Yorkshire Water at Scammonden Reservoir in West Yorkshire. Picture by Tony Johnson

With the world’s water resources under growing pressure from climate change and population growth, reducing the amount lost through leakage and waste has become of paramount importance.

Which is why Yorkshire Water plans to invest around £870m over the next five years to maintain its reservoirs, treatment works and pipe network.

Neil Dewis, Head of Service Delivery at Yorkshire Water, said: “Some people take water for granted but it is a precious resource and we need to ensure that in the future we can continue to meet the demands of a growing population and the challenges climate change could bring.

“We work really hard to manage our own leakage and to supply our water in the most efficient way, but we need our customers to play their part too.”