Water firm rules out tougher drought action

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THE wettest April on record has ruled out the possibility of more serious drought restrictions this year, Thames Water has announced.

Following heavy rain in April and the first few days of May, the company said although its hosepipe ban would remain in place for the time being, it could now rule out applying for a Drought Order, which could impose further restrictions.

The announcement came after the Environment Agency published a report removing drought status for 19 counties in England.

However, London and the South East are still in drought, and despite recent rain, groundwater levels remain lower than in 1976 in some areas.

Richard Aylard, Thames Water spokesman, said: “It is a great relief for us that we can now rule out seeking a Drought Order this year.

“No water company wants to impose restrictions on its customers for any longer than absolutely necessary.

“Despite all the recent rain, we still have a serious groundwater shortage, and we could yet have a long hot summer, so, much as we’d love to, it would be irresponsible for us to lift the ‘hosepipe ban’ just yet.”

Some boreholes in the Thames region are still at exceptionally low levels, the supplier said, and it will be several weeks before it is known how much of the recent rain has found its way deep underground to top them up.