Thames Water announced today that it has withdrawn its application to the Department for Food and Rural Affairs for a drought order for London.
The Environment Agency supported Thames Water's decision at this time to withdraw its application to Defra for a drought order for London. But the Agency said it expected Thames Water to keep this under constant review and to reapply if expected rain doesn't come. Robert Runcie, the Environment Agency's Thames Regional Director, said'The drought is still serious. Groundwater reserves remain well below normal across much of the Thames Valley following the last two dry winters. If we have a dry autumn and winter we could be in a difficult position again next year and Thames Water may need to reapply.Thames Water environment director, Richard Aylard agreed: 'There is still a drought, but it isn't getting any worse, and we don't need to bring in any more restrictions beyond the existing hosepipe and sprinkler ban. The situation has changed since we applied for a drought order for London on 26 June. 'We took that decision as a sensible precaution, because there was a possibility that we might need to bring in additional restrictions. We planned on the basis that getting a drought order could take up to 12weeks, and we had to keep in mind that we might receive as little as half the average rainfall over that period.'We said at the time that if we had anything like a normal English summer it was unlikely that we would need these extra restrictions. Since then we have seen close to average rainfall in July and August.Just as importantly, the response from our customers has been magnificent.In July, despite the very hot weather, they saved 258 million litres a day, a fall in demand of 8% compared to what we would usually expect.London reservoirs are now at 78% of capacity, which Thames said is higher than at the same time in two of the last three years. The hosepipe and sprinkler ban introduced in April will remain in place across the Thames Water region until there has been sufficient rainfall to replenish groundwater and surface water supplies.