Alan Titchmarsh blames companies for Britain’s water shortage

Alan Titchmarsh says that water companies waste more in leaks than green-fingered homeowners, Photo: Graham Stone/REX
Alan Titchmarsh says that water companies waste more in leaks than green-fingered homeowners, Photo: Graham Stone/REX
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Television presenter Alan Titchmarsh has attacked water firms for blaming shortages on British gardeners.

Suppliers have urged customers to use water “responsibly” in the build-up to St Swithin’s Day, with forecasts predicting Scotland’s summer heatwave is set to continue into next week.

Households in Northern Ireland became the first across the UK to be subjected to a hosepipe ban.

But gardening guru Titchmarsh described the warnings as “galling”, arguing water firms waste more in leaks than green-fingered homeowners.

He told the magazine Horticulture Week: “This kind of weather is always worrying. Plants need water. A hosepipe ban would be galling when so much water is not properly managed and leaks.

“And when they blame gardeners, that really is galling.”

Supply regulator Ofwat says as much as three billion litres of water drains away every day before it reaches intended customers.

Titchmarsh advised gardeners there was no need to water lawns, telling them to let grass go brown until it next rains.

He told the magazine: “Of course you shouldn’t water lawns because they will recover and we do need to conserve water in the garden.”

No parts of Scotland have yet been subjected to a hosepipe ban, though Scottish Water have warned customers to be conscious of their usage during the warm weather.

June was the driest on record in south-east and central southern England, while Scotland experienced record temperatures, the Met Office has said.

The UK recorded its hottest day of the year so far on four consecutive days starting 29 June, with the mercury hitting 30C in all four home nations for the first time in five years.

It is the longest heatwave recorded in the British Isles since the drought of 1976.

Temperatures across Scotland remained in the mid-to-high 20s for most of the weekend. Glasgow baked in 24C heat on Saturday afternoon while Edinburgh hit 23C.

The Met Office forecasts predict a cooler week with more cloudy days, but the sun is set to shine again next weekend to coincide with the World Cup final.

It is also set to be sunny on St Swithin’s Day this Sunday when, according to legend, rain would bring another 40 nights of bad weather.

The first rain forecast over the next fortnight is set to fall on 17 July, with light drizzle over most of central Scotland.