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Bewl Water levels

Bewl Water is the largest body of open fresh water in South East England. It is a vital resource for water companies to supply their customers.

Following exceptionally low rainfall during winter 2016-17 and during October and November 2017, Bewl is now at 94% capacity.

See our timelapse film below showing Bewl refilling.

Precautionary drought permit application

Bewl Water provides water to hundreds of thousands of people across Kent and East Sussex. 

Given the impact of exceptionally low rainfall on the reservoir's levels, we needed to take action to safeguard supplies for customers and reduce the risk of needing to introduce temporary restrictions on people's water use over the coming summer. For example, prohibiting the use of hose-pipes to water household gardens.

Following an application to the Environment Agency on 5 January 2018, we were granted a precautionary drought permit for Bewl Water, enabling us to refill it in the weeks up to 1 April 2018. Further details are set out in the summary document which is available to download below. You can also read more about our ongoing work to effectively manage water resources across our region, including tackling leakage. 

Bewl - May 2018

Bewl - February 2018

Download the Drought Permit or application summary below:

The drought permit for Bewl gives us greater flexibility to take water from the River Medway and River Teise and pump it into the reservoir to help boost its water level ahead of next spring and summer, the time of year when demand for water increases markedly. 

Abstracting more water from the Medway and Teise in this way would only be a short-term measure to secure water supplies - the permit is only for the period to the end of March 2018. We applied for the permit now because taking water in winter is less likely to have any environmental impact, compared to the summer. 

In preparing our drought permit application, we carried out a comprehensive environmental assessment to understand how we can most effectively manage the situation, we are working hard to balance the needs of all our customers, the environment and the many people who use the River Medway and its tributaries for work and leisure.

Information on reservoir levels, rainfall and groundwater levels across the Southern Water region can be found here:


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