WATER firm bosses have issued reassurances after concerns that guidance issued in a newsletter could lead the region to “run out of water in hours”.
East Durham Homes’ (EDH) latest ‘Insight’ newsletter is advising tenants who have been away from home for long periods including on holiday or in hospital, to heat up their systems to the normal temperature and run taps for at least five minutes.
The advice is given in a bid to refresh water that can deteriorate if unused and also prevent bacteria growth and diseases like Legionella.
EDH bosses told the Hartlepool Mail that the advice is in line with Government guidelines and widely used by housing organisations.
But one anonymous resident contacted the Mail with concerns that such tips would waste water.
They said: “There is a drought on and yet they are telling everyone to run all their taps for ‘at least five minutes’ and just waste water necessarily.
“It is absolute madness, the North-East will run out of water within hours.”
The resident also circulated their letter to Northumbrian Water and Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) minister Richard Benyon.
Replying on Mr Benyon’s behalf, Sue Pennison, principal inspector for the Drinking Water Inspectorate, said the advice from EDH was “sensible in the reduction from risk from Legionella”, as according to EDH’s duties.
She added: “With regard to water shortages, the running of taps is only suggested if the resident has been away a long time and water has had the chance to stagnate in pipework.”
Ms Pennison said running the first draw of water into a container to use for washing dishes, or watering plants would be sensible and added: “Given that the advice is to do this only if the resident has been away a long time and not on a daily basis then it is unlikely that this would lead to significant wastage.”
Alistair Baker, Northumbrian Water’s PR and communications manager, said: “When away from the home for long periods it is good advice to run the tap long enough to clear away the water which has been lying in the system and replace it with fresh recently treated water.”
He added that due to “plentiful supplies of water” from the region’s reservoirs, which are more than 90 per cent full, there is no likelihood of a drought.