THE district’s hosepipe ban is set to be lifted tomorrow (Thursday, June 14), but people are still being asked to be sensible with their water use.
Exceptionally wet weather since the start of April has boosted flows in many rivers and largely refilled reservoirs hit hard by the two-year-long drought.
Many groundwater aquifers have also recovered from what had been record low levels in some areas. Nevertheless, some aquifers remain low and are now likely to remain so until they can be recharged by sustained rainfall in winter.
Groundwater aquifers account for almost half of the water that Anglian Water supplies. For this reason, customers are still being urged to continue to use water wisely whatever the weather.
Paul Valleley, Anglian Water’s director of water services, said: “I am delighted that we are able to make this announcement. It was never our intention to keep these restrictions in place a moment longer than necessary.
“When we introduced the ban back on April 5, we had just been through the driest year on record and gone two winters without the rainfall needed to recharge reservoirs and aquifers.
“We were heading into the summer with reserves well below normal.”
He added: “Almost from the moment we announced the ban it started raining and April turned out to be the wettest in our 113-year records.
“There’s no way we could have predicted it, but in some places we had three times the average rainfall in April. Crucially, it fell just within the traditional ‘recharge’ season – the time of the year when there is less competition for water from the environment, and much of what falls ends up in reservoirs and aquifers.
“Effectively, we had three months worth of ‘winter rain’ in April. This was followed by a wet and cool May and June. The persistent rain and low temperatures have extended the recharge season into the early summer, and this has made all the difference.”
Just a few days ago the firm said there still had not been enough rain to lift the hosepipe ban, but that it would keep the situation under review.
Now, while Anglian Water said it is confident supplies are now secure this summer without the need for restrictions, concern remains over levels in many of the region’s underground aquifers.
Mr Valleley said: “Many aquifers started April at historically low levels and many are still below normal, even after the torrential downpours we have seen recently.
“The recharge of these aquifers is a natural process and with summer now upon us, there is unlikely to be any real change until we get a full winter of rain to replenish them.”
Anglian Water said it is continuing to ask its customers to use water wisely whatever the weather, reducing usage where possible to conserve supplies through the summer.
At the same time, the company says it will combat leakage and invest in drought-busting schemes to tap new sources of water and improve the storage and movement of water around its network.
Mr Valleley said: “We are enormously grateful to our customers for their help and support over the last two months.”