Anglian Water hopes this region should escape drought fears

Recent storms have helped to maintain water levels in East Anglia, says Anglian Water. Picture: JOE

Recent storms have helped to maintain water levels in East Anglia, says Anglian Water. Picture: JOE GIDDENS/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Despite the storms that have battered Britain over the last few weeks, one water company in the south of England has refused to rule out drought problems during the summer.

But Anglian Water is confident that there should be no problems in this region – a spokesman said water stocks were exactly where they should be at this time of the year.

Southern Water, which supplies customers from Kent to Hampshire, warned that in the east of its area there were fears of a drought because rainfall levels had been low during 2017.

The company applied for a drought permit asking the Environment Agency for permission to pump water from Kent rivers to top up Bewl Water reservoir near Tunbridge Wells following “exceptionally low rainfall”.

On its website, Southern Water said: “Following exceptionally low rainfall during winter 2016-17 and during October and November 2017, Bewl currently holds less than 43% of its maximum 31,000 million litres capacity.


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“Recent rains are definitely helping but we need at least average rainfall during the remainder of the winter to get Bewl back to where we need it to be.”

Stuart Sampson, Environment Agency water manager, said: “Despite the recent wet weather at the end of December, we had a dry end to the autumn with rainfall much lower than average in the south-east of England.

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“Last winter saw low rainfall in the South East which means that groundwater and some reservoirs are below normal levels.”

However a spokesman for Anglian Water said those fears did not extend to this region: “Alton Water is full and the groundwater reserves are exactly where they should be at this time of the year.

“We will, of course, monitor the situation and we are taking action to ensure we prevent leaks – but we are looking okay as far as water supplies in this region are concerned looking ahead.”

He said the company would urge people to use water as wisely as possible – but they should not have particular fears about supplies.

Water companies always look to the winter months to replenish their supplies because rain can soak into the ground or stay in reservoirs – much summer rainfall can evaporate or be used by growing plants and not add to supplies.

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