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Hosepipe ban remains while London still ‘in drought’—despite record rain

Saturday, May 12, 2012
7:00 AM

London’s hosepipe ban is not being lifted—despite one of the wettest months on record.

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But more serious water restrictions have been ruled out this year, Thames Water has confirmed.

The temporary hosepipe restriction is being retained “for the time being” because groundwater levels that feed the rivers in the South East remain critically low, the company told the Advertiser last night.

“We still have a serious shortage,” said Thames Water’s sustainability director Richard Aylard.

“It’s a relief that we can now rule out seeking a Drought Order this year that would have imposed further restrictions—but it would be irresponsible to lift the hosepipe ban just yet.”

Yesterday’s announcement came after the Environment Agency confirmed that London and the South East is still in drought, while ‘drought’ status was being removed in 19 counties elsewhere.

Thames Valley groundwater levels remain lower than the notorious 1976 drought when there was no rain all spring and summer.

“Levels remain at their lowest ever, even lower than 1976,” Mr Aylard added. “Until the groundwater recovers, the hosepipe ban must remain.”

Yet the Thames region had its second-wettest April on record, nearly three times the long-term average rainfall.

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