CUSTOMERS of South East Water can use their hosepipes again after its temporary ban was lifted today.
The company was one of the remaining four water companies to lift the ban imposed in April.
It said it is heavily dependent on groundwater supplies, which provide 75 per cent of its water.
These were at record low levels following the two-year drought but rainfall since April means the underground aquifers are now recovering.
Paul Seeley, asset director, said: “We are pleased to be able to lift the restrictions and return to a normal service for customers.
“We would like to thank them for their support while they have been in place; their efforts have helped to keep demand for water well below levels normally experienced at this time of year.”
Three other companies – Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast have also announced they are lifting their temporary use bans.
South East Water said significant – or indeed any – recharge of underground resources at this time of year is most unusual but it follows the abnormally heavy rainfall experienced since April which has finally brought to an end the drought after two dry winters.
Although the record rainfall has taken time to soak deep down into the aquifers most are now indicating promising levels of recharge.
Mr Seeley said: “The increase in our underground resources brought about by the abnormally heavy spring rainfall is most welcome.
“Normally, only winter rainfall recharges the aquifers and so this recharge is unusual, and has seen some of the highest increases in water levels ever recorded in our area at this time of year.
“We are now confident that our water resources have returned to a position that means our customers’ essential needs are secure.
“However, the levels are still lower than we would like them to be so we are planning for a possible third dry winter and we will continue to seek our customers support to use water wisely.”
South East Water is continuing to replace water mains and drive down leakage – as it has done for many years.
This year has seen the company meet its leakage target set by the industry regulator, Ofwat, for the 11th year running.
South East Water continues to promote a wide range of water efficiency measures in its supply area and on its website – including providing free water efficiency devices and encouraging people join in with its biggest ever pledge campaign to save water and anyone who pledges could win an iPad.