Hosepipe ban still in place for most of East Sussex

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WHILE Lewes residents can use their hosepipes again tomorrow (Thursday June 14), most Sussex Express readers still have a ban in place.

Southern Water, along with Anglian and Thames, is lifting the hosepipe ban in its Sussex water supply areas, including Lewes, but South East Water is keeping restrictions in place as it monitors water levels.

The temporary use ban, the first in five years, was brought in on April 5 after two exceptionally dry years.

Rain fell immediately afterwards and April was the wettest on record.

This wet weather continued throughout most of May and into June, with many areas affected by flooding this week, and Southern Water said this has helped boost water sources and, importantly, keep down demand.

However, South East Water said the rainfall 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, the company said it was not in a position to remove water restrictions and instead continues to carefully follow its Drought Plan to ensure it is prepared for the risk of a third dry winter.

Asset director Paul Seeley said: “All water companies must stick to their drought management plans which are agreed with our regulators.

“Just as those companies who are now in a position to withdraw their restrictions will be following theirs, so must we comply with ours and retain them.

“We hope our customers understand why we are taking the action we are – these depleted reserves still need to see us through the summer, if it ever arrives, while we must also plan for the possibility of a third dry winter.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for the extraordinary efforts they have made so far, while reassuring them that we are prudently managing the water resources we do have and as soon as we are confident the groundwater sources have recovered we will remove the restrictions.”

Southern Water’s four reservoirs are all more than 80 per cent full, some 35 per cent higher than they were at the start of March, and there has been some recharge of underground water supplies.

Water quality and strategy manager Meyrick Gough said: “While our focus remains firmly on helping to deal with the aftermath of the torrential rain and flooding in the south over the last few days it is also right for us to lift the water restrictions.

“Our supplies have been topped up by the wet weather and are now in a much stronger position going into the summer than they were when we introduced the restrictions in early April.

“However, with the underground sources, which supply the vast majority of our customers, still below average for this time of year, we are asking our customers to continue with their efforts to use water wisely and not waste water.

“We have seen a great response from customers and demand has dropped considerably as a result of the wet weather and customers doing their bit and we are very grateful for their continued support.”