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Guernsey Water warns "spray now, pay later" over urgent pesticide problem

Guernsey Water warns

Wednesday 13 April 2022

Guernsey Water warns "spray now, pay later" over urgent pesticide problem

Wednesday 13 April 2022


Islanders could face significant water bill hikes, or water use restrictions, if they do not reduce their use of pesticides and weedkillers.

Guernsey Water has issued the warning after it was confirmed that the Vale Pond water catchment, which used to provide around 250 million litres of water per year, can no longer be used due to pesticide levels.

Water Quality Risk Manager, Margaret McGuinness, said islanders needed to act "with some urgency". 

“With our climate warming up and more severe droughts predicted for the future, the fact we are currently unable to collect what would equate to around 19 days’ worth of water during drought for the island is significant and concerning," she said. 

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Pictured: Guernsey Water could impose a hosepipe ban during periods of drought.

Mrs McGuinness said the problem did not just affect the Vale Pond catchment area. From 2019 to 2021 regular sampling by the utility indicates that there has been an estimated 65% increase in pesticide concentrations in streams across the island.

“If these levels continue, we will be more likely to need water restrictions such as hose pipe bans during periods of drought,” said Mrs McGuinness.

If the use of pesticides and weedkiller continues to increase the alternative would be to provide more water treatment, but this would require major investment and would also increase operational and maintenance costs. This could lead to a rise in customer bills.

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Pictured: Islanders could see a significant hike in their water bill.

“We are asking islanders with some urgency to reconsider their use of pesticides and weedkiller and look to alternatives for the benefit of the island’s vital water resources and environment. Otherwise, unfortunately, it could be a case of spray now, pay later,” said Mrs McGuinness.

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