BATTLE residents will be free to wash their cars and water their gardens after South East Water announced this morning (July 9) that it is lifting its hosepipe ban, with immediate effect.
The news will be welcomed by Battle residents, especially as neighbouring Hastings and Rye saw their hosepipe ban lifted in early June.
The two towns are supplied by Southern Water.
South East water is heavily dependent on groundwater supplies which provide 75 per cent of its water.
These were at record low levels following the two-year drought, but rainfall since April means the underground aquifers are now recovering.
Paul Seeley, South East Water’s asset director, said: “We are pleased to be able to lift the restrictions and return to a normal service for customers.
“We would like to thank them for their support while they have been in place; their efforts have helped to keep demand for water well below levels normally experienced at this time of year.”
Three other companies, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast, have also announced they are lifting their temporary use bans.
South East Water said significant, or indeed any, recharge of underground resources at this time of year is ‘most unusual’.
But abnormally heavy rainfall since April has finally brought to an end the drought after two dry winters.
Although the record rainfall has taken time to soak deep down into the aquifers, most are now showing ‘promising levels of recharge.’
It was low water levels in the aquifers, along with reservoirs and rivers, which triggered the use of South East Water’s Drought Plan, which is agreed with the Environment Agency, and led to the introduction of the temporary use ban by seven water companies on April 5.
Mr Seeley said: “The increase in our underground resources brought about by the abnormally heavy spring rainfall is most welcome.
“Normally, only winter rainfall recharges the aquifers and so this recharge is unusual, and has seen some of the highest increases in water levels ever recorded in our area at this time of year.
“We are now confident that our water resources have returned to a position that means our customers’ essential needs are secure.
“However, the levels are still lower than we would like them to be so we are planning for a possible third dry winter and we will continue to seek our customers support to use water wisely.”