Hosepipe ban may still be introduced

A HOSEPIPE ban may still be on the cards for households across 1066 Country after one of the driest years since the infamous summer of 1976.

Southern Water, which manages water for Hastings and St Leonards, is already planning for future water shortages after one of the driest autumns and winters on record.

Levels at Southern Water’s four reservoirs remain well below average following the autumn which Met Office figures say was the second warmest on record.

To reduce demand on the reservoirs during the winter the company has had to use more of its underground reserves.

According to South East Water, January saw only 50 per cent of the long term average rainfall expected during the month.

From January 2011 to October 2011, the Sussex region saw only 40 per cent of long term average rainfall.

Recent snowfall has not helped to provide extra water as it takes one foot of snow to produce inch of water. The frozen ground also made it difficult for water to seep into underground stores.

Southern Water’s water planning and strategy manager Meyrick Gough said: “The autumn was exceptionally dry and we now look to see what happens during the winter as we closely monitor water levels.

“Major improvements to our water supply network in the last few years mean we are much better placed to deal with the situation but we still rely on winter rainfall.

“The recent weather along with predictions from experts that climate change will cause summers to be longer and hotter, shortening our refill periods, shows how important it is that we use water wisely and do not waste this precious resource.

“We can all be more aware of the amount of water we use and take steps to conserve it where possible.”

Southern Water is holding a public consultation on its plans for how it would deal with a drought in the south east.

The Drought Plan sets out how the company would continue to supply water during very dry conditions. For more information visit www.southernwater.co.uk/droughtplan.