Suffolk avoids water shortages

IT IS one of the great ironies of life in Britain – on the day that water companies in the south of England introduced water conservation measures, the heavens opened.

IT IS one of the great ironies of life in Britain – on the day that water companies in the south of England introduced water conservation measures, the heavens opened.

But the steady rain over the last 24 hours cannot disguise the fact that so far 2005 has been one of the driest on record.

In Britain's driest region, however, there is no threat to water supplies – Anglian Water engineers are hoping to keep it flowing with few problems.

Trisha Tweddle from Anglian Water said the company's investment in its infrastructure over the last few years had paid dividends.


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She said: "We have tackled the problem of leakage from our mains pipes and now our leakage rate is about half that of the industry average.

"We have also invested in major projects like reservoirs – and that means things are looking all right.

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"Anglian Water is confident there will be no supply problems this year thanks to the efforts we have put in over the last decade.

"But we aren't complacent and we would appeal to our customers to use water wisely."

Alton Water is 91 per cent full and the company's other reservoirs are even nearer their capacity.

And Ms Tweddle said underground water sources were also holding up very well.

She added: "This is the driest region of the country, with about half the national average of rainfall.

"It is also seeing a big expansion in the number of homes – so it is vital that we invest in the water network."

Star weatherman Ken Blowers said the amount of rain since last November was six inches below average – that is the equivalent of three months' rainfall.

The amount of rain in February was fractionally over the long-term average, but in November, December and January it was a little over half the average.

March, April and May had also seen below average rainfall – and while in June the Ipswich area had been exceptionally dry. Most of the rain that did fall that month came in last week's deluge.

Across the region, rainfall over the last six months has been only 73 pc of the average – although the wet summer of 2004 means that the 12-month figure shows above average rainfall.

Rain in the summer helps with supplies because fewer people are watering their gardens – but it does little to replenish stocks because it tends to evaporate faster than it falls.

It is autumn and winter rain that is needed to replenish supplies.

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