SOUTH East Water will keep temporary use bans in place as it continues to monitor water levels.
While recent rainfall has boosted river and reservoir levels, it has had little impact on the region’s groundwater sources, many of which remain at severe levels.
As these provide 75 per cent of all customers’ water supplies South East Water is not in a position to remove water restrictions.
It is likely they will stay in place until at least the autumn, which is when any rainfall can start to re-fill these vital underground reserves.
The confirmation follows Thames Water announcement that it expects to be able to withdraw its temporary use ban restricting the use of hosepipes ‘sooner rather than later’, however four companies – all in the South East – have confirmed the bans will remain in place.
The four companies – South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast – are heavily dependent on ground water supplies and say these remain significantly or, in some cases, severely depleted.
The other two companies of the seven currently with restrictions – Southern Water and Anglian Water – say they will also continue to keep restrictions under review.
Paul Butler, Managing Director of South East Water said: “We understand that customers could be confused and frustrated as to why some companies are considering lifting restrictions, while we have to keep ours in place. “The fact is the amount of water currently available in our underground reserves simply doesn’t support that course of action, and ahead of what could be much warmer, drier months.
“South East Water gets 75 per cent of the water it supplies from underground supplies, which are very low – some are approaching levels that we’ve never seen before.
“Conversely other companies get the majority of water supplies from rivers or reservoirs which responded well to all the early spring rainfall.
“Clearly drought affects different regions in different ways, and so we will continue to remind our customers that restrictions still apply through our water efficiency and publicity campaigns over the summer.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the extraordinary efforts they have made so far, while reassuring them that we are also doing everything we can to secure their water supplies.”