County should avoid hosepipe ban despite low rainfall

By Ian Dipple 02/04 Updated: 03/04 15:30

WATER restrictions are not expected to be introduced this summer despite Worcestershire being declared at high risk of drought.

Record low rainfall over the last 16 months and the prospect of another dry spring and summer has prompted the warning in a report produced by the Environment Agency.

Although reservoir levels in the region are about normal for the time of year groundwater levels in Worcestershire are exceptionally low. The River Avon has an exceptionally low flow and the Upper Severn is also below normal.

River flows and groundwater levels are now unlikely to return to normal levels with the start of the growing season and there are significant risks for farmers and growers across the county.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: "As we move towards spring and summer, and temperatures begin to rise, we would expect to see more environmental impacts from the dry conditions."

The Environment Agency class Severn Trent as at medium risk of having to introduce water restrictions this summer, but while the company is keeping the situation under review it is confident it has done enough to avoid the use of measures such as hosepipe bans.

Over the last six months the firm has been moving its raw water supplies from the wetter western parts of the region to the drier east to help balance out supplies.

Marcus O'Kane, Severn Trent water resources manager, said: "Careful water resources management from river and ground water sources has also helped to strengthen the system. Dozens of individual measures are being taken to ensure our customers do not face any usage restrictions this year, but we can’t afford to be complacent.

"Although we would never rule out the prospect of restrictions, we are confident we have the situation under control at this time."

"Customers in our region are very water conscious, with the lowest consumption per head in the UK. Our year-round message remains the same - continue to use water wisely as part of your everyday life."

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