Our local supplier of water, SES, has notified householders that recent heavy rainfall is so far not enough to top up depleted water sources. Their note to householders says the following:-
The wet end to summer 2017 was welcomed but underground aquifers – rocks which act like a giant sponge – only usually fill up from rainfall during autumn and winter when there is less plant growth and evaporation. October to March is the critical ‘recharge period’ and autumn rainfall was very low - October was dry with only 35 per cent of long term average rainfall during the month, followed by only half of the expected rain in November. December was a lot wetter but above average rainfall will still be needed from now through to March to minimise the likelihood of water restrictions in the spring.
Last winter (2016-17) was cold and grey but quite dry with only two thirds of average rainfall across SES Water’s supply area. This meant that groundwater sources were a lot lower than normal going into this recharge period and now is the time they should start being replenished. This is important as 85 per cent of the water we supply to our customers comes from underground.
Like all water companies, we depend on winter rainfall for the water we supply to our customers and the rain from a few wet days is not enough to seep down into the aquifers. By this point in the year we would be expecting our sources to be at a higher level, ready to meet demand in the spring.
We are working hard to manage the water we do have, from installing new pipelines to move water around our network to finding and fixing leaks as quickly as possible. However, the weather is the one thing nobody can control which is why our water efficiency activities and messages are relevant all year round to remind people that water is a precious resource – whatever the weather.
Our latest statement is also available to read on our website, where you will also find some useful graphs that show average supply and demand, water levels at our reservoir - which supplies 15% the water in our area - and water levels at one of our boreholes which contributes to the remaining 85% of our water supply.