Serving the Farming Industry across East Anglia for 35 Years
Groundwater sources in the eastern region have seen only 80% of average rainfall over the last 12 months with more needed to recharge underground... More water needed to recharge aquifers

• Annual rainfall below average

• Temporary restrictions possible

• East Anglia is still driest region

Groundwater sources in the eastern region have seen only 80% of average rainfall over the last 12 months with more needed to recharge underground aquifers.

Many of the region’s reservoirs look full after months of healthy rainfall and careful management. But Anglian Water says what is happening  below ground is equally important as the region heads into spring.

East Anglia remains in drought status despite average rainfall during the last three months across most of the region, explained Anglian Water head of water resources and drought Sarah Underhill.

While this has helped reservoirs recover to the levels expected for this time of year, the region’s groundwater sources in the east remain well below normal levels, with a deficit of around six weeks worth of rainfall.

“Water is one of our most precious resources,” said Ms Underhill.

“It’s why we manage it with such care and plan ahead for the future to ensure there’s enough to go round our rapidly growing customer base, while leaving plenty in the environment for nature to thrive.”

East Anglia is the country’s driest region – and the most vulnerable to climate change. Anglian Water says it invests tens of millions every year to build our region’s resilience against the challenges we face.

“This resilience, combined with the best leakage record in the industry and around 90% of our customers having meters means we’re able to manage drawn out periods of unusually dry weather. But what we can’t do is make more water.”

Last year, the lack of rain saw the Anglian region given drought status by the Environment Agency in August. But even with resilience masures in place, plans to help reduce demand for this summer are not off the table just yet.

Water sources

Across the Anglian region, about half of customers’ water supply comes from surface water such as rivers and reservoirs; with and the other half coming from groundwater sources or underground aquifers.

The period between November and the end of March is typically referred to as the refill period across the water industry. It is the time when river flows recover, meaning more water can be abstracted and stored in reservoirs.

“This winter, rivers and groundwater stores across the east of our region, in particular, have not recovered as quickly from the dry summer simply because some areas have only seen around 80% of the long term rainfall over the last 12 months.

“We’re continuing to monitor the situation closely but if we don’t get the predicted rainfall over the next couple of months before spring, we may still need to consider temporary restrictions this summer in certain areas.”