May 26 2013 Latest news:
By Chris Lennon, News editor
Monday, April 30, 2012
WE may be on course for the wettest April since records began, but we’re still officially in drought.
And the region will remain so for a long time to come even if the recent rain keeps on falling.
That’s because the rain – while a blessing for farmers, gardeners and fast-drying-up rivers – is “unlikely” to do much to replenish water supplies, which are critically low after two successive dry autumn/winter periods.
Mike Pocock, water resources manage at Hatfield-based Veolia Water, said most of the rain at this time of year is absorbed by trees and plants, or lost to evaporation.
And with the soil above Veolia’s underground chalk aquifers so dry, rain will either run off the surface into rivers, or be absorbed and not permeate downards.
Mr Pocock said: “The critical period for recharging our aquifers is between October and March each year.
“The recent rainfall has been good for the environment and reduces demand for water.
“Unfortunately this rainfall is unlikely to replenish groundwater levels in our region.
“Following the unusually dry weather we have experienced over the past 24 months, we will need prolonged and substantial rainfall over next autumn and winter to recharge our aquifers and to move us out of a drought situation.”
Veolia was one of seven water companies in the south and east of the UK to impose a hosepipe ban on April 5.
Domestic customers caught flouting the ban face prosecution and a £1,000 fine – although at least with all the rain of late, the chances of anyone needing to water their garden is pretty much zero!