According to the Met Office, May 2020 was the UK’s sunniest calendar month on record.
Last month was also England’s driest May on record, with just 17% of the average rainfall for the time of year.
With the UK on lockdown due to COVID-19, household water usage was already higher than usual. Coupled with hot, dry weather, demand for water increased and there was a 50% spike in household water usage across the UK.
In addition to meeting this general increased demand, water utility companies were keen to look after their growing register of vulnerable customers, many of whom were self-isolating during lockdown.
Whilst this was a substantial task, it highlighted the importance of having robust alternative supply plans.
Water Direct key workers were able to work together with contracted partners to react to this demand, scaling up operations quickly and efficiently to ensure that supply interruptions were kept to a minimum and that household customers had the water they needed.
Over the last month, Water Direct delivered 17 million litres of quality drinking water in more than 600 tanker loads, most of which was injected directly into the network, using innovative network injection technology to provide water precisely where it was needed.
1 million litres of bottled water was also provided on behalf of one water utility partner via drive-through handout locations and socially distanced doorstep deliveries to vulnerable customers at 20,000 residential properties over just 4 days, as well as deliveries to 4 prisons and around 100 care homes.
Robert Allan, Senior Contract Manager at Water Direct said, “We were able to scale up our logistics quickly and efficiently to meet the increased demand, whilst also helping our contracted partners to achieve their PR19 objectives. I am incredibly proud of our key workers for all the hard work they have put in during this time, especially against the backdrop of COVID-19.”
The project assisted water wholesalers in achieving their PR19 objectives of reducing supply interruption times, providing a positive customer experience, protecting vulnerable customers, and innovation and collaboration.
Instances of unpredictable events such as the ‘Beast From The East’ in 2018, and the global pandemic of COVID-19, have demonstrated just how important it is for water wholesalers to have partnerships and alternative water supply plans in place to safeguard against unpredictable events and ensure service delivery when their customers need it the most.