UK & World News
Hosepipe Ban: Water Firms To End Restrictions
Three of the UK's biggest water companies are to announce they are lifting hosepipe bans which have been in place since April.
Thames Water, Anglian Water and Southern Water will formally confirm the end of the restrictions today before they are officially lifted tomorrow.
Seven water companies across southern and eastern England brought in hosepipe bans to combat drought, after two unusually dry winters left some groundwater supplies and rivers as low as in the drought year of 1976.
But the restrictions introduced early in April were followed by record rainfall across the UK for that month, and more rain in May and the beginning of June.
Director of sustainability at Thames Water, Richard Aylard, the hosepipe ban has been in place for nine weeks and it has been raining for seven of them.
"The ban's off certainly for this year. After that, a certain amount depends on how much rainfall we get over the winter," he said.
"If we get something close to average rainfall, then things will be back to normal by next spring.
"If it was very dry over the winter then clearly we could have problems again next year."
A spokesman for Anglian Water said that the decision had been made because of a combination of factors combining to ease pressure on the water system.
He said: "It's been because of supply and demand, it has recharged.
"It also is because we have had such a cold, wet May and June following a wet April, which means demand has been suppressed."
Southern Water confirmed it is lifting the restrictions in Kent and Sussex.
The news came as heavy downpours battered Britain, with forecasters warning they are set to continue through the rest of the week.
South Wales, the south of England and Northern Ireland all saw heavy showers yesterday and temperatures struggled to get above 14C.
In its latest drought briefing last week, the Environment Agency said the wet weather had significantly reduced the risk of drought and widespread water restrictions this summer.
River levels and reservoir stocks have improved significantly and further water restrictions for the public and businesses are unlikely, the government agency said.
Thames Water said at the time unless the weather takes "an unexpectedly Saharan twist", it no longer expected to keep the ban in place through to the autumn.
South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast have hosepipe bans remaining in place.
South East Water has said its ban will remain in place. The others were unavailable for comment.
Only Devon and Cornwall managed to achieve temperatures in the high teens, with the mercury reaching 18-19C in the West Country.
It was coldest in Scotland and northern England where temperatures peaked at 10C.
The heavy showers that have plagued Britain this week will continue through the rest of the week, with Wales and the South West worst affected.
All is not lost for a sunny summer though. Forecasters say there "are some hints of sun towards the end of the month but that is uncertain".