Much more rain needed to ease drought fear for area

SUFFOLK: Alton Water might look nearly full to the brim after the heavy rain of the last few days, but this week’s downpours have so far done little to ease drought fears.

The south Suffolk reservoir is currently about 88 per cent full – slightly under the 90pc figure which is normal at this time of the year – but its water does not come mainly from the skies or the fields. It relies on water pumped from rivers.

And the lack of rain over recent months means that river levels have fallen and there is less to top up the reservoir.

Alton Water itself supplies only a small proportion of the water used in the area. Most of Suffolk’s supplies come from underground boreholes and the water level from these has fallen alarmingly over the last two years.

John Clare from Anglian Water said: “Alton Water is also the smallest of our raw water reservoirs, holding up to 10.5billion litres of water.

“Most of the water supplied to Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire comes from underground aquifers. By contrast, the west of the region is served by three reservoirs, Rutland, Grafham and Pitsford, all of which hold far more water than Alton (112.8bn, 54bn and 15bn litres).”

The water shortage was currently more acute in the west – normally the wetter side of AW’s region – but it would not be possible to pump water from the east to the west.

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Mr Clare said it was vital that consumers and businesses continued to use water sparingly unless there are several weeks of heavy rain.

The company had become more efficient and was now supplying the same amount of water to 20pc more people than two decades ago.

n Do you welcome the rain that has fallen recently? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail star letters@archant.co.uk

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