Hosepipe ban could last all year

The drought has had a major impact at Bewl Water. This picture was taken in March
The drought has had a major impact at Bewl Water. This picture was taken in March

The hosepipe ban across the county could continue for the rest of the year after one of the driest winters on record.

And despite plenty of April showers this month, they only appear to be guaranteeing May flowers.

Southern Water says that the recent rain is nowhere near enough to replenish reservoirs, rivers and underground aquifers which are feeling the effects of the second driest period since records began.

According to the Environment Agency, since September 2011, the South East has received 64 per cent of the long term average rainfall.

Rainfall received during the last two winters is the lowest recorded in the past 100 years and 11 out of the last 18 months have had below average rainfall.

Bewel Water reservoir, which supplies 1066 Country, remains half full.

Hastings Borough Council spokesman, Kevin Boorman, said: “The rain this week has really helped with watering our grounds and plants.

“We’re working with our grounds maintenance team to minimise impact on our parks and gardens.

“We try to use plants that don’t need a lot of water.

“We can apply to use water from the Buckshole Reservoir if we need to but at the moment we’re coping quite well.”

Southern Water is making use of its drought permit issued by the Environment Agency, which allows it to take more water from the River Medway to put into Bewl.

Water quality and strategy manager Meyrick Gough said: “Although good for the garden, the spring showers will not replenish our water stocks to levels we would like.

“Bewl is benefiting as we’re now able to pump more water in, thanks to the drought permit.

“Our resources remain well below average and we’d need a considerable amount of rain over a long period of time before they could return to normal levels.

“We’d particularly welcome a wet autumn and winter this year as rainfall during that period is the most effective at filling up reservoirs and underground sources ready for use through the summer. This period, from October to March, known as our recharge season, is key.”

Southern Water introduced water restrictions, including hosepipe and sprinkler bans, for its customers on April 5. This is expected to reduce demand by five per cent and will help safeguard supplies for the summer.

Mr Gough added: “We are monitoring the rainfall and water resource situation closely. We will keep customers regularly updated on the situation and thank them for their support so far.”

Visit www.southernwater.co.uk/drought for full details on the restrictions.