Heavy rain gives drought relief

HEAVY Autumn rain is finally providing relief from the drought that has hit eastern England over the last two years.So much rain has fallen that it is reaching the underground water reserves - or aquifers - two months earlier than normal.

HEAVY Autumn rain is finally providing relief from the drought that has hit eastern England over the last two years.

So much rain has fallen that it is reaching the underground water reserves - or aquifers - two months earlier than normal.

They are already starting to show some signs of recovery and has left environmental experts hopeful that there will be no repeat of this year's drought.

Alton Water is now nearly 90 per cent full and this time last year it was just 71pc full.

The turn around has come after a wet August and October. November has so far not been exceptionally wet, but with more rain forecast over the next few days that could soon all change.

Jonathan Thompson, the Environment Agency's drought co-ordinator for this area, said: “So far this autumn things are looking very encouraging. The underground water sources are holding steady or, in some cases, starting to recover.

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“Before rainwater can reach them it has to saturate the ground above them, and that doesn't normally happen until later in the winter.

“This year, however, the ground is already saturated so when we get more rain it can get straight through to the underground water - that is helping the situation enormously.”

Officials at the Agency are still hoping for much more rain during the winter but Mr Thompson acknowledged that it was a case of so far, so good.

He said: “We are certainly hoping that we can avoid drought restrictions next year, but there is nothing we can do about the amount of rain that falls.”

At Anglian Water officials are hopeful that there will again be no need for any restrictions next Summer.

Dan Baker from the company said: “We are reasonably happy with the situation at the moment and the sources are being replenished - but obviously there is a long way to go this winter.

“But it is vital that our customers should realise it is still necessary to use water wisely. They have been very good and helped to ensure that although we are the driest part of the country there have been no restrictions since 1991 - but there is no room for complacency.”

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