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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.

It is also used to maintain a healthy flow level in the River Medway in summer months.

Today Bewl is at a very low level - it is only 35% of its full capacity of 31,000 million litres.

The autumn so far has been extremely dry - only 31.9 mm of rain was received in October 2017 across the Southern Water region which is less than 40% of the long term average for the time of year. This dry spell follows on from a dry winter last year which we saw less than average rainfall across the Kent area. 

Reservoir and groundwater levels remain low in many parts of the south east, but particularly in the East of the region, following last year’s ‘dry winter’; from October 2016 to March 2017, the Southern Water region received only 77% of its typical rainfall.

Low water levels can pose risks for leisure users of Bewl. Howard MacKenzie of Bewl Water said: “At the moment it is business as usual for leisure activities at Bewl Water, but we are continuing to monitor the situation. 

“If water levels continue to fall, there may come a point where we have to consider suspending some activities. While we have no immediate need to do that, we would advise anyone planning a visit to check our website for any updates. 

“Fishing from the bank has been suspended due to deep mud, but fishing from boats continues until January and the low water levels pose no threat to the health of our fish.

“All visitors must keep to the clearly marked track around Bewl Water, away from the reservoir margins and stream beds where there is hazardous deep mud. Dogs must be kept away from these areas.”

During the coming winter when river flows are higher, Southern Water will look to pump water from the River Medway to help recharge Bewl Water. 

The South East is a water stressed area. Climate change and population growth continually challenge the region to cut down on water leaks and manage the precious resource of water carefully.

Southern Water spends £14 million a year hunting down leaks and 85 full time teams checking the network for problems. 

A new initiative to replace leaky stopcocks, if they are situated close to customer water meters, is also helping to plug leakage figures.

Customers also have their part to play and hints on how to save water can be found here.

Information on reservoir levels across the Southern Water region can be found here.

Track rainfall in the South East here.


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