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Water, water everywhere

Bewl reservoir in January 2013

Southern Water’s reservoirs are full or nearly full, following the wettest year on record in England.

The company’s four above ground reservoirs are all well above average for the time of year, as are the underground sources which supply 70 per cent of our water supply, and which at the start of the summer were severely depleted.

Water Quality and Strategy Manager Meyrick Gough said: “The weather over the past 12 months has been very unpredictable, making life difficult for everyone.

“People will remember that this time last year we were feeling the effects of two very dry winters and reservoir and aquifer levels were worryingly low.

“Now, we’re in the opposite position and thoughts of a drought and hosepipe ban are very far away. Instead we have some customers experiencing very difficult conditions as a result of the amount of rainfall we have received.”

Autumn and winter are important seasons for water companies as this is when reservoirs and underground sources are refilled in time for the spring and summer, when demand is much higher.

The Environment Agency said many key groundwater sites in the South East were at “notably high levels or higher” for the time of year, with two aquifers in Sussex reaching record levels in December.

Meyrick added: “We’ve had two dry winters followed by the wettest summer on record – and now we’re experiencing one of the wettest winters.

“From a water resources point of view we are now in a very strong position ahead of the spring and summer. In the meantime our priority is to continue to work closely with the local authorities who lead on flooding and the Environment Agency in areas where the high water levels are causing problems for our customers and the environment.”

Southern Water is currently updating its 25-year plan for securing water supplies in the South East and is including plans to make the water supply for customers more resilient to changing weather patterns in the future.

The Water Resources Management Plan is updated every five years and will be published for public consultation between May and July this year. To find out more visit www.swhaveyoursay.co.uk

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