I am being kept up to date on this situation by United Utilities on a twice daily basis at the moment.
The issue is that chlorine is used to disinfect the water to ensure bacteriological safety. Due to the run off of additional water from snow and ice melt, and in particular from fields and roads, the normal concentrations of chlorine added are having to be increased to meet targets. This is because higher levels of ammonia in the water are stripping out some of the free chlorine that is being added so that additional concentrations are needed to achieve the target disinfection level. You will be pleased to know that this addition is controlled and is not a case of indiscriminate amounts being added for ease - once the disinfection target is met then dosing automatically stops - so it is as you would like, being kept to a minimum.
Obviously this is not an ideal situation in terms of aesthetic quality of the water for residents, but the alternatives are the distribution of water that does not meet microbiological standards and therefore could create even bigger problems.
My contact at UU will update me with any further information as it is received and I will pass this on to you directly.