Residents are being urged to save water as Thames Water sees its highest ever demand during the driest May on record.

A combination of hot weather and people observing lockdown means water use has reached "unprecedented levels" in the Thames Valley.

On Bank Holiday Monday alone the water company pumped an extra 63 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water through its network in the Thames Valley – around a third more than normal.

This brought the total volume supplied in just one day to 758 million litres, the equivalent of 300 swimming pools.

Thames Water says that following one of the wettest winters on record it currently has a good amount of water stored in its reservoirs.

However, at peak times on hot days, residents in some areas are using water faster than it can be safely treated and pumped through the underground network of pipes to homes.

The current record demand for water will also inevitably reduce reservoir levels quicker than normal, the company said - as is already being seen in other parts of the country.

Thames Water is urging everyone to "make every drop count" and not fill paddling pools to the brim, use buckets instead of the hose and watering cans for plans and allow lawns to go green.

Andrew Tucker, water efficiency manager at Thames Water, said: “Increased temperatures mean increased demand for our water, which stresses our network’s ability to produce it fast enough and accelerates the draw on rivers and underground aquifers.

“Making every drop count inside and outside our homes by taking shorter showers, turning off sprinklers and reusing water where possible, means we can all help keep taps flowing in our communities so everyone can still have access to water for the essentials like hand washing and staying hydrated.

"With millions of homes using more water every day, being water efficient in the garden and inside the home will really help us ensure there’s enough to go around.”

To save more water, Thames Water’s key workers have also been working to reduce the amount being lost through leaks and have installed new equipment at a number of its water treatments sites to increase the speed at which they can treat water and pump it to customer taps.

Andrew added: “Using less water at home and reducing leakage means we can leave more for nature in our rivers and reservoirs, and give essential underground sources a chance to recover, reducing the risk of shortages in the future.”