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Firms are to lift hosepipe bans

Locals make their way along a flooded road in Felpham near Bognor Regis in West SussexHosepipe bans remain in place at four water firms

Three water companies are to lift their hosepipe bans after further heavy rain.

Seven firms put restrictions on water use in April to combat drought in southern and eastern England after two unusually dry winters.

But the restrictions were followed by record rainfall across England that month and more rain in May and June.

Anglian Water, Southern Water and Thames Water have confirmed that they are to remove the restrictions from midnight on Wednesday.

Last week, the Environment Agency said wet weather had significantly improved river levels and reservoir stocks and reduced the risk of drought and widespread water restrictions this summer.

South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast have confirmed their hosepipe bans remain in place.

Richard Aylard, sustainability director for Thames Water, which has 8.8m customers in London and the Thames Valley, said: “We don’t need a ban, but we do need to ask everyone to keep on using water wisely.”

Anglian Water, which supplies customers in the east of England and Hartlepool, said a combination of factors – including the wet weather – had eased pressure on the water system.

Southern Water confirmed it was lifting its restrictions in Kent and Sussex.

Rain and flooding

Heavy rain since the weekend has caused flooding in Wales and some parts of southern England.

On Tuesday, the village of Elmer in West Sussex was evacuated after days of rain.

The Environment Agency has issued five flood warnings and 21 flood alerts, including 16 in the South East.

As yet, there are no severe flood warnings – the highest alert, meaning there is a danger to life.

BBC Weather said there could heavy showers in western areas on Wednesday, which could cause flooding.

The Met Office issued a severe weather warning for Wednesday for the south-west and north-west England, the West Midlands and Wales.

The public should be aware of the risk of localised flooding, it said.

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It said heavy showers could lead to surface water flooding, particularly in west Wales, where the ground has been saturated by recent heavy rain.

Environment Agency Wales said river levels were not expected to rise much further, but also warned that “heavy showers could lead to localised flooding of roads from blocked drains or small streams”.

On Saturday about 1,000 people were moved to safety from flooding in mid-Wales, with an estimated 150 rescued.

Rain and surface water flooding on Tuesday caused more disruption around the country, including:

  • More than 20 people were rescued from flooded caravans at two holiday parks in West Sussex
  • Fire crews across West Sussex dealt with more than 650 emergency calls in 18 hours – the same number they usually receive in a month

The adverse weather has also affected roads in various parts of the country and the BBC’s Travel Unit has full details of delays and incidents on its website.

The Environment Agency has urged people to remain vigilant and to check its website for the latest information.

It “strongly” advised the public to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive through flood waters.

12 months of drought

June drought map

May drought map

Drought in England and Wales April 2012

Drought in England and Wales march 2012

Drought in England and Wales March 2012

Drought in June 2011

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