Reservoir that is normally full to the brim is on verge of drying up

Reservoir that is normally full to the brim with enough water to supply half of Bolton is nearly empty after dry spring brings less than half the usual amount of rain (and it’s only May)

  • Lower than average rainfall during dry May has meant water levels at Wayoh Reservoir have receded 
  • Dramatic pictures reveal the parched bed of the reservoir following the hotter-than-expected month
  • The Met Office said the rainfall during May was only 45 per cent of what you would expect during the month 

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Dramatic pictures reveal how a reservoir that is usually filled with 500 million gallons of water is on the verge of drying up after May’s heat turned it into a bed of cracked mud.  

Lower than average rainfall during dry May has meant water levels at Wayoh Reservoir, which supplies 50% of the drinking water to Bolton, Greater Manchester, have receded – with deep cracks now appearing in a desert-like landscape. 

The Met Office said the rainfall during May was only 45 per cent of what one might expect during the month. Water bosses said there have not been any reported shortages so far but have said they always encourage people to use water wisely, whatever the weather.

Grahame Madge, a spokesman for the Met Office, said: ‘It has been really dry. Lancashire has had between half and three quarters less of the rainfall you’d expect to have.

Dramatic pictures reveal how a reservoir that is usually filled with 500 million gallons of water is on the verge of drying up
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Dramatic pictures reveal how a reservoir that is usually filled with 500 million gallons of water is on the verge of drying up (pictured: Wayoh Reservoir previously, left, and this month, right)

Lower than average rainfall during dry May has meant water levels at Wayoh Reservoir, have receded (pictured: Wayoh Reservoir)

Lower than average rainfall during dry May has meant water levels at Wayoh Reservoir, have receded (pictured: Wayoh Reservoir)

Deep cracks are now appearing in the desert-like landscape of the reservoir - based in the village of Edgworth in Bolton

Deep cracks are now appearing in the desert-like landscape of the reservoir – based in the village of Edgworth in Bolton

The Met Office have said the rainfall during May was only 45 per cent of what you would expect during dry May

‘So there has been 31.3mm of rain on average so far this month which is only 45 per cent of what you’d expect in an average May.

‘Heavy rain is expected to be on the way tomorrow though so this could change the figures a little.’

Forecasters said Lancashire has had 193 hours of sunshine, which is about average for May.

Meanwhile, the county’s average daily temperature has been 14.7 degrees celsius, 0.7 degrees celsius less than the average for May.

Mr Madge added: ‘It’s been a pretty average month for sunshine and temperature with rainfall less than average.

‘Many factors will affect reservoir levels including usage and how much rain there has been over a longer period.’

Data on the website of North West water company United Utilities also shows average reservoir levels for Pennine sources is 82.5 per cent this year compared to 85.3 per cent last year when water levels at the Wayoh Reservoir were also low.

The warmest May on record and a record-breaking amount of sunshine were blamed for last year’s low water levels at the reservoir.

The warmest May on record and a record-breaking amount of sunshine were blamed for last year's low water levels at the reservoir (pictured: The reservoir previously)

The warmest May on record and a record-breaking amount of sunshine were blamed for last year’s low water levels at the reservoir (pictured: The reservoir previously)

Grahame Madge, a spokesman for the Met Office, said: 'It has been really dry. Lancashire has had between half and three quarters less of the rainfall you'd expect to have'

Grahame Madge, a spokesman for the Met Office, said: ‘It has been really dry. Lancashire has had between half and three quarters less of the rainfall you’d expect to have’

'So there has been 31.3mm of rain on average so far this month which is only 45 per cent of what you'd expect in an average May,' Mr Madge added

‘So there has been 31.3mm of rain on average so far this month which is only 45 per cent of what you’d expect in an average May,’ Mr Madge added

Mr Madge added: 'It's been a pretty average month for sunshine and temperature with rainfall less than average. Many factors will affect reservoir levels including usage and how much rain there has been over a longer period'

Mr Madge added: ‘It’s been a pretty average month for sunshine and temperature with rainfall less than average. Many factors will affect reservoir levels including usage and how much rain there has been over a longer period’

A spokesman for United Utilities, the North West's water company, said: 'Like everywhere in the UK, it's been fairly dry and some reservoirs are slightly lower than usual for the time of year'

A spokesman for United Utilities, the North West’s water company, said: ‘Like everywhere in the UK, it’s been fairly dry and some reservoirs are slightly lower than usual for the time of year’

He added: 'Here in the North West, we can move water around our regionwide network and this helps us manage our resources for the benefit of our customers and the environment'

He added: ‘Here in the North West, we can move water around our regionwide network and this helps us manage our resources for the benefit of our customers and the environment’

A spokesman for United Utilities, the North West’s water company, said: ‘Like everywhere in the UK, it’s been fairly dry and some reservoirs are slightly lower than usual for the time of year.

‘Here in the North West, we can move water around our regionwide network and this helps us manage our resources for the benefit of our customers and the environment.

‘We always encourage people to use water wisely whatever the weather.’

Wayoh Reservoir is a water reservoir in the town of Edgworth, Lancashire, England. It was completed on April 28, 1876 to supply water to Bolton.

Together with the Turton and Entwistle Reservoir, Wayoh makes up 50% of Bolton’s drinking water.

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