Record rain during ‘drought’ means Thames Water hosepipe ban officially ENDS at midnight tonight

Thames Water said the “topsy turvey” weather, which saw record amounts of rain falling from the moment the ban was announced in April, meant that the capital’s drought in now officially over.

The announcement from Thames Water, as well as neightbouring suppliers Southern Water and Anglian Water, came on a rare sunny day for London.

Today’s announcement brings an early end to a ban that was expected to last all year when it was announced on 5 April following two dry winters in succession.

Reservoir and river levels are now back to or above normal although the groundwater storage basins are still depleted.

Richard Aylard, sustainability director for Thames Water, said: “In early April things looked very different than they do now. We had had the two driest years on record and we had no idea how long it was going to stay dry.

“While we prepared for worst, bringing in restrictions to save water to ensure there would be enough if the dry spell continued, the topsy-turvy British weather had other ideas.

“Since we imposed the Temporary Use Ban just over two months ago, we have received an extraordinary amount of rain.

“We are really pleased we can now lift the ban but, with groundwater levels still low and the possibility of a third successive dry winter, we still need to be careful. We don’t need a ban, but we do need to ask everyone to keep on using water wisely.”

The announcement came as Thames Water defended its decision to grant its chief executiove a £36,000 annual housing allowance on top of his £850,000 pay and bonus package.

Martin Baggs, who lives near Brighton but spends the weeks at a rented flat near the company’s HQ in Reading,  also receives a £15,000 a year car allowance.

A Thames Water spokesman said:”The chief executive receives a housing allowance to pay for accomodation close to the Reading HQ so he can give the job his focus and time it requires during thw working week.”

Murad Qureshi, chair of the London Assembly environment committee, said: “With the wettest drought on record coming to an end now, we have to make sure that there is not a postcode lottery in London over its ending.

“TW & Veolia must “˜trade water’ between themselves towards those dependant on groundwater supplies rather than rain water, so Londoners don’t find themselves on the wrong side of the ban still.”

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