Water companies warn customers they still need to be careful with supplies

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Even though the hosepipe ban has been lifted, and there should be enough supplies for the rest of year, people are being urged to still think twice before turning on the tap.

At the start of the week, Kent’s water companies - South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, and Veolia Water Southeast - lifted restrictions imposed in April after two exceptionally dry winters.

A South East Water spokesman warned: “We could all be back to square one if we have yet another dry winter.

“We are confident we have water resources that will cover the rest of the year.

“We advise all our customers to still be sensible with water use. There has been a drop in demand during the rains, but demand needs to be down all the time.

“There are plenty of sensible things people can do like taking shorter showers, turning the tap off when brushing teeth, using full loads in the dishwasher and washing machines. Use water wisely in the garden.

“We need to keep the water we have got and make it last.”

Southern Water, which along with Thames Water had already lifted restrictions, said its reservoirs are in a healthy position with Bewl at 90 per cent. But some underground sources are still below average.

Water quality and strategy manager Meyrick Gough said: “Although our water restrictions are no longer in place, underground sources are still being replenished and we’d like to remind customers to think about the water they use.

“We’re entering the summer period when demand peaks, so we should all continue to use water wisely where we can.

“We’d all like to see some sunshine over the next few weeks and ask our customers to continue with their brilliant efforts to save water, particularly when the weather gets hotter.”

And Veolia South East said while the unprecedented rainfall since April has lead to a significant improvement in water resources, the company is waiting with anticipation of rain starting from as early as October.

Mike Pocock, water resources manager said: “We take most of our water from aquifers.

“Although the exceptional levels of recent rainfall have resulted in an unusually high top up of groundwater for this time of year, the critical period for recharging our aquifers is between October and March, when less rainfall is lost to plant growth, evaporation and run off to rivers.

“It must be stressed that groundwater levels still remain lower than normal, so we are asking our customers to continue to use water wisely. We will need prolonged and substantial rainfall, particularly during the next autumn and winter period, to restore our groundwater to normal levels. A third dry autumn and winter would make a hosepipe ban next year a possibility.”

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