It might be wet – but East Anglia needs more rain say environment experts

Heavy rain may be causing problems - but we need much more of it, says the Environment Agency. Pictu

Heavy rain may be causing problems - but we need much more of it, says the Environment Agency. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

The last few weeks may have been very wet – but the Environment Agency still needs much more rain over the next few months to restore underground water supplies.

Rainfall levels have been below the long-term average over recent years, and despite occasional wet months there hasn't been enough water to replenish underground water sources or aquifers.

The water over the last few weeks has helped - and there is some evidence that it is finally seeping deeply enough into the ground to make a difference.

In east Suffolk there was almost twice the long term average of rain in October. November had had average rainfall during its first week - but that is likely to have gone up significantly over the last few days.

But to really make a difference the Agency wants to see above-average rainfall continuing through to the early months of next year.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: "Last month we had more than 177 % long term average rainfall in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

"This rainfall has reduced the soil moisture deficit which means there is some significant groundwater recharge in the unconfined Norfolk aquifer, with slower recharge within the aquifers of Essex and Suffolk.

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"While this recent rainfall was welcome, the region still remains in drought. More than 100% of the long term average rainfall is required for groundwater levels to return normal levels by the start of April 2020."

Phil Garner from Norwich-based forecasters Weatherquest said: "Over the early months of the autumn, during September and at the very start of October we had more dry weather after the summer, but since then there has been a lot of rain.

"I think this has more or less evened things out over this season, and it might now be a bit above average - but I know more is needed to fully replenish the underground supplies."

But some people were needing a respite from the heavy rain: "Some farmers are now struggling to get on to their land because it has become so saturated but we still need rain to get through to the aquifers."

The changeable weather - with periods of rain - is expected to continue for the rest of this month and could last into December, although there is the possibility of a colder drier spell coming.