Updated: Friday, 31st October 2014 @ 4:56pm

Manchester's primary city water supply still below average – despite record rainfall

Manchester's primary city water supply still below average – despite record rainfall

By Charlie Bennett

With the majority of the country facing severe water shortages, Manchester – normally famous for its rain – is also below normal standards.

Despite the persistent, heavy rainfall in the last seven weeks resulting in reservoirs almost full to the brim in Greater Manchester, but not near drought standards, the city’s primary water supply could still do with an extra pouring.

Checks by water supplier United Utilities revealed that their five main sources are all between 82.0% and 99.6%, just 2% below last year, and are still flowing at the expected levels.

This is despite, according to the Met Office, a total of 164.8mm of rainfall for the observation site at Woodford, Stockport, since the start of April.

A spokesman from United Utilities said: “Reservoir levels for the region currently stand at 91% – just slightly down on average for the time of year, but certainly no cause for concern. The region is not in drought, and we have no plans for a hosepipe ban or other water restrictions.

“United Utilities’ five water supply resources are part of an integrated resource zone connecting sources in North & West Cumbria, North Wales, the Pennines, and the Lake District.

“Manchester primarily uses water from the latter, and though there are no draught fears, the water company urges residents to use water wisely no matter the weather – ‘it makes sound environmental and economic sense’.”

An Environmental Agency spokesperson said: “Our north-west rivers are flowing at above expected levels for the time of year, following the wet April and wet start to May.

“The majority of Manchester’s water supply comes from United Utilities’ Haweswater reservoir.  It’s currently 85% full, which is relatively good, but still about 10% less than usual at this time of year.  

“Groundwater levels remain normal across the North West.   We will continue to keep a close eye on the situation.” 

The heaviest April showers since records began also had a positive effect on the rest of the nation, where 19 zones were elevated from drought status. Anglia, London, and the South East still have hosepipe bans.