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 469.

    Trouble is, I talk of prosecution and know that there is no way it would be allowed.
    Same as the 'voting system' is not intended to change a thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 468.

    total charge for the year all included my brother pays 3 times more than me for his water charges
    I have a water meter fitted people think that a water meter cost you more but it saves you money because you only pay for what you use and not on an out dated formular that they use for unmetered supply
    when I moved in this place the unmetered bill was going to be 3 times more

  • rate this

    Comment number 467.

    461. maniac king mally

    The hosepipe ban was an absolute disgrace proof if proof was needed that privatisation was a disaster."

    The ban came about because of one of the driest March's for decades.

    Apparently, the lack of rainfall in March 2012 was directly the fault of privatisation. Not weather patterns, but because of who owned a business.

    Fantastic. Really, that's fantastic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 466.

    462. Centres for Stuff I Heard from Some Guy
    463. Total Mass Retain
    Do you use your multiple ID's to vote for yourself?

  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

    Time to prosecute the water-co's for criminal waste.
    Forget the weather - if half the water from reservoirs is lost along pipe leaks then we are always near a shortage.
    Why mess about?

  • rate this

    Comment number 464.

    452. york1900

    Did you go to the link I posted? it explains very well.

    Peoples annual bill differ because some areas charge for water and sewerage together, others are separate and run by two different businesses as water works and sewerage works, you receive a bill for each service. Mine is separate and both together I pay nearly 3 times per month as you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.

    Sceptics argue that the predictions of wet summers have not been made. Climate models can predict the energy content of the climate, not how it is distributed at the local level. They cannot predict where the jet stream flows in any year only that wherever it is, one side will be wetter and the other dryer. Like Sidney they have yet to grasp that weather and climate are different things.

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    455 Sidney Monroe

    I thought you believed that there had already been massive population displacement with your claim that millions of the poorest people in the world had come here since 1997.

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    The hosepipe ban was an absolute disgrace proof if proof was needed that privatisation was a disaster.I can't wait for the next hot summer no water and no doubt a rise in price to feed the greedy shareholders. CAPITALISM DOES NOT WORK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 460.

    "Sidney Monroe
    Yes - and don't forget are children will never know what snow is "

    That was a selectively quoted headline which did not represent the peer reviewed science. A headline that went "Snow will probably be much less common than it once was but will still happen from time to time" wouldn't be quite so snappy. The other examples were not actually made in scientific peer review.

  • rate this

    Comment number 459.

    453. Sidney Monroe- Interactive services, no adverts, intelligent programming, radio, for £145 a year (cheaper than my water bills) and cheaper than 3 months subscription to sky to watch cop shows, repeats of what the beeb use to show years ago. I don't think the BBC's all that bad and at least you can have your say on hear, maybe the water companies should do the same thing

  • rate this

    Comment number 458.


    "...Can we assume that your property is empty or you don't live in the UK?..."


    Well: I was led to believe the poster lived in Yorkshire, so I suppose arguably the jury's out on the latter point...

  • rate this

    Comment number 457.

    I had a water meter fitted when moved in so I only pay for what I use and not on a formular that is so out of date that you pay 3 times the cost for your water I use a dishwasher washing machine once aweek have 2 or 3 baths every day
    A water meter makes you look at how you use water
    washing up in a sink use more water than a dishwasher

  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    They've been having a lovely spring and summer in Iceland I gather.

    If it's any comfort, the weather looks pretty ropy across France and much of the med too for a while...

  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    391.Total Mass Retain

    'Sort of sums up what we're seeing right now.'

    Yes - and don't forget are children will never know what snow is - that's according to one of Britain's top climatologists. And there wll be major population displacement by 2010. And the the Himilayian glaciers will vanish in 30 years etc etc etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    447. eddyba

    'We had a hose pipe ban. I chose not to participate, ...'

    Good for you. I bet you're first in the queue when there's talk of a petrol shortage as well. After all if something's likely to run short we owe it to ourselves to use as much of it as possible.

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    10 Minutes ago
    My Father worked for a water company..when he joined it was a service, but after privatization became a business.'

    If you want to be reminded how bad nationalised businesses were ,look at the BBC now. Huge waste, massive rewards for the top bosses, and yet it neither informs without bias or entertains.

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    No I did not I can not fine my bill brake down so I checked my bank account to find the total bill cost for the year
    it was to show how different peoples bills are for water my brothers water bill is over £300 per year he lives in a smaller property than me he lives in Cleethorpes

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    We_Are_All_Utd, - Your comment is spot on and I will just like to add that the Water Corporations, Gas & Electricity Boards etc which provide the basic necessities of life in any society should never be privatised. The PLC's, charge excessive amounts for the purification and supply of these amenities.
    Talbotsun, yes, the infrastructures and systems are outdated & lack of investments over the yrs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    I'm an Engineer working for a regional water company. Some of the comments on here are breathtakingly ignorant.

    The reason the water companies were privatised was to encourage investment in the infrastructure. That is happening now. When it was government owned there was little investment thats why so much of the infrastructure has failed. We are paying for the investment through our bills.


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