Hosepipe ban to remain

THERE are NO plans to relax the hosepipe ban currently in force in Essex, despite another water company hinting it might lift restrictions.

Veolia Water Central has confirmed its temporary use ban, imposed on April 5, will remain.

The firm’s stance comes as neighbouring Thames Water revealed on Thursday it no longer expected to keep its ban going until autumn, following record rainfall in April, and more in both May and into June.

Veolia’s water resources manager Mike Pocock said while the heavy rain seen over recent months had helped, underground aquifers were still far from replenished.

He said: “The significant rainfall in April and early May and the reduced demand for water due to the hosepipe ban, has resulted in the first positive recharge of groundwater for over a year in the underground aquifers, from which Veolia Water takes most of its water.

“The level of recharge achieved so far has been small, compared to what will be needed to restore groundwater resources to normal levels, but it has been sufficient to allow for a limited review of the exceptions given to assist businesses affected by the drought.”

Mr Pocock said “prolonged and substantial” rainfall over a longer period was needed to top up aquifers and allow the region to move out of drought status.

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He added: “Months of wet weather, particularly during the next autumn and winter period, will be needed to restore groundwater to normal levels.

“The current temporary use ban, which includes hosepipe usage, has been assisting to reduce demand and conserve our water resources and we would like to thank our customers for their incredible support.

“Unfortunately at present, we will not be relaxing the temporary use ban further, as we need to conserve our supply of water to prepare for the possibility of a third dry autumn and winter.”