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Leeds nostalgia: Standpipes go up across the North

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Julie Greensmith, of Fir Tree Green, Moortown, Leeds is pictured here at a standpipe tester outside her home in September 1976.

Bricks were in toilet cisterns, people’s baths and sinks were full of water and standpipes were going up in the streets as the country sweated through one of the worst heat waves in living memory. Bans were brought in on watering gardens, washing cars, filling swimming pools and park lakes and even watering cans. By the beginning of September standpipes were already in situ in Huddersfield, Halifax, Wakefield and Dewsbury and people living in Ilkley and Harrogate were told their water supplies would be gradually switched off from September 15.

A Yorkshire Water spokesman described the situation as “desperate” and said had it not been for a 25 per cent saving of water by consumers across the country, reservoirs would already be bone dry. The Yorkshire Evening Post launched the Save It campaign, inviting readers to send in water-saving ideas, among which were using washing up water to flush the toilet, defrosting the fridge to collect water and using morning dew to wash your car.