Hosepipe bans: Final four companies lift restrictions


The "abnormal rainfall" has led to the last hosepipe bans being lifted

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The final four water companies in England with hosepipe bans in place have lifted them, in a move affecting about six million domestic customers.

South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast imposed the restrictions on water use in April.

They followed two dry winters but end after "abnormally heavy rainfall".

Meanwhile, the Festival of British Eventing in Gloucestershire has been cancelled because of the weather.

And farmers have warned that the supply of home grown fruit and vegetables could be severely hampered by the ongoing wet weather.

Surface water in some parts of the UK has prevented producers from gathering crops, such as peas, and that tonnes are being left to rot in the fields.

Water officials said they had expected the bans to remain throughout the summer.

Anglian Water, Southern Water and Thames Water lifted their bans in June.

The announcement comes after a weekend in which a number of communities across Britain were hit by flooding following torrential downpours, and forecasters warn there is more rain on the way.

'Use wisely'

The four water companies said ground water supplies, which they were heavily dependent on, had recovered enough for the bans to be lifted.

Start Quote

The recharge in the aquifers brought about by the abnormally heavy spring rainfall is most welcome”

End Quote Mike Hegarty Sutton and East Surrey Water

Between them they cover all or part of a number of counties in the south and south-east of England, including Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

Double the normal average amount of rain for June fell last month, and April was the wettest since records began more than a century ago.

In a joint statement, the four firms said: "The companies would all like to thank their customers for complying with the restrictions and supporting their plea to use water wisely.

"This has kept demand for water well below levels normally experienced at this time of year.

"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 spring which has finally brought to an end the severe drought after two dry winters."

Mike Hegarty, operations director for Sutton and East Surrey Water, said the hosepipe ban had been expected to be in place throughout the summer.

"The recharge in the aquifers brought about by the abnormally heavy spring rainfall is most welcome," he said.

"Normally winter rainfall recharges the aquifers. The recharge is unprecedented and is the highest increase in water levels ever recorded in our area at this time of year."

However, Mike Pocock, water resources manager at Veolia Water Central, struck a note of caution and urged customers to continue to use water wisely.

'Summer on hold'

"While most welcome, this recovery in the aquifers does not remove the underlying problems caused by the drought and we are continuing to plan for the possibility of a third dry winter," he said.

The development followed deluges that prompted weather and flood warnings over many parts of Britain at the weekend.

Heavy rain brought flash flooding to areas of West Yorkshire for the third time in just over two weeks on Monday.

Parts of the Calder Valley, including Hebden Bridge, saw a month's worth of rain fall in three hours.

The Environment Agency said 80% of river flows were now above normal or higher, with reservoirs showing a good recovery and just 11 groundwater sites below normal water levels - and two "exceptionally low".

A spokeswoman said: "The threat of drought this summer is now no longer on the cards, but if we have another - a third - dry winter, we're going to need to look at whether drought is possible for next summer."

Polly Chancellor, Environment Agency national drought co-ordinator, said: "We remain vigilant as another dry winter could see a return to low water levels next year.

"We are working with water companies and others to put plans in place to reduce the impacts on people and the environment should this happen."

There are no longer any weather warnings in place but there are still a number of flood warnings and flood alerts in place in England and in Scotland.

A flood warning means immediate action is required, and a flood alert means people should be prepared for possible flooding.

BBC weather forecaster Sarah Keith-Lucas said summer was still on hold, with a rainy, cool and breezy week ahead.

The co-organiser of the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, Captain Mark Phillips, said that the "unprecedented rainfall" over the last month had produced "exceptionally wet ground conditions".

He added: "We did everything possible to ensure that the event took place but sadly the hard-working ground crew have been defeated by the weather."

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  • rate this

    Comment number 449.

    My Father worked for a water company for 33 years and took early retirement 16 years ago. He told me why he wanted out was because when he joined it was a service, but after privatization became a business.
    At the end of the day, all businesses are out to make as much as they can for shareholders and the like, so you can forget the investment!

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    @444 'york1900'
    Can I move in with you? £120 per year for water costs in the UK is impossible - unless you don't shower, flush a toilet, wash up, use a washing machine or drink tap water. Can we assume that your property is empty or you don't live in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.

    We had a hose pipe ban. I chose not to participate, complete joke the water industry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    444. york1900

    I think you misunderstood, part of your water bill is surface drainage, mine is £22 per year for this service - to take rainwater from my house.

    Have a read


  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    The country is suffering drought... the rain is causing flooding! Employment is rising... but there are more people out of work! The planet is warming up... but we may be heading for a new ice age! We are at war with Al-Qaeda... but give them arms to fight Syrians! The country is broke... spend billions on Olympics!

    Is anyone else confused?

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    My total water bill for the year is £120 per year £10 per month

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    Yorkshire water have made there network so they can pump water from any of there works to were it is needed in Yorkshire
    It would only be a couple of miles of pipe work from the boarder of 1 water companies to the next
    Yorkshire water did there work after the last drought in Yorkshire so they could move water a round Yorkshire and they saw the cost of tankering it aroung Yorkshire

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    431.jesus bermudez

    "...And about time too, I can finally clean the cars..."


    A neighbour of mine had a little one-man business like that too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    Water companies should be targeted for collecting/storing water. We are usually deluged with the stuff and live on an island for gods sake. I don't think anyone outside the UK would understand the stupidness of the UK having water problems. Certainly none from the middle east.Time for work on a proper water infrastructure policy. Cisterns for new houses, linked canals, incentives for water saving

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    Why have water companies not invested in inter connectors so they can get water from all over the country ? oh yes I know it would give people a choice of which water company supplies there water to them what gets me is that it would not cost that much to make those connections If Yorkshire water can do it for Yorkshire why can not the other water companies do it yes

  • rate this

    Comment number 439.

    Next price increase will be for disposal of surface water from your downpipes, mine is £22 per year, the 100 houses in my road pay £2200 per year to have a pipe that drains into the sea. I'm not joking, look at your water bill, you already pay for it. You can get a rebate if you collect water, but the cost is horrendous into £1000's. A few water butts don't count = I tried.

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.

    If we, in the UK, cried a river for our foreign owned water companies; the Environment Agency and government they would tax tears.

    It's clear, we the UK have lost control of our basic natural resources: Water and food production. Plus, we have lost control of energy security too.

    Without the above basics people will turn on each other. Some do take advantage of that ongoing vulnerability.

  • rate this

    Comment number 437.

    Goodie, now perhaps the ban has lifted we can get on with a blazing hot summer drought. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeee !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 436.

    If our water's better off being privatised, then why do the Chinese government own much of it?

    Those who want everything privatised are either obscenely wealthy and want more money, or the hapless victims of right-wing media brainwashing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 435.

    The problem is not confined to lack of rainfall, it is exacerbated by a rapid rise in population, particularly in the south-east caused by unfettered immigration from both the EU and the rest of the world. If we are to conserve our water supplies we must not just halt but reverse the tide of immigrants coming to this country and, by definition leave the EU

  • rate this

    Comment number 434.

    Calls now for water companies to be nationalised. A few weeks/months ago on HYS public sector workers were being pilloried for always being on strike and wasting money. It was the private sector that created all the wealth and that was a good thing.

    I'm confused?

  • rate this

    Comment number 433.

    ~ 431 jezez bermudez - wetting myself (pun intended) waiting for the responses - cars plural!

  • rate this

    Comment number 432.

    I am a S&ES customer which is dependent on aquifers; I can't change supplier (S&ES admitted that there is no competition). They will not be building a new reservoir to capture summer rainfall as "it would be expensive", and don't have an alternative plan so we can expect more restrictions in future, yet their latest accounts show a £5m dividend, in line with "excellently performing companies"...

  • rate this

    Comment number 431.

    And about time too, I can finally clean the cars.

  • rate this

    Comment number 430.

    399. JasonEssex
    Or have to mandatory reduce bills by 10% when a hosepipe ban is introduced. In capitalism if you use less of a product then your should be reduced proportianatly"

    Or give everyone meters, so they will only be charged for what they use - or is that no good, because you won't be able to waste as much water as you feel like?


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