Uckfield’s water supplier is warning of possible restrictions next spring.
South East Water has also said it cannot rule out having to apply for drought permits, allowing it to take more water from rivers to fill its reservoirs.
The company says:
*The 12 months to October have been the driest since 1976 in the South East;
*October was one of the warmest months on record;
*Rainfall in September was just 60 per cent of the long-term average, but was even less in October – just 30 per cent of the long-term average fell across the South East region;
*Demand for water has increased too – the company saw demand for water peak at 211 million litres per day in October, some 44 million litres more than the same month last year.
South East Water’s two reservoirs in Sussex – Ardingly and Arlington – are now at “very low levels”, with both just over a third full.
Ardingly Reservoir is currently 34 per cent full, while Arlington Reservoir is 33 per cent full.
Water levels in the company’s groundwater sources are also below average for the time of year.
Lee Dance, Head of Water Resources at South East Water, said: “The unseasonably warm, dry weather we’re continuing to experience has delayed the start of the traditional period when rainfall refills both our reservoirs and underground sources, giving them a much needed boost before next spring and summer.
“Our underground sources in particular are crucial as they provide 75 per cent of all our water supplies, and rely on that rainfall to fill them up.
“We are continuing to carefully monitor the situation and are fine tuning our water supply network to move water around the Sussex area.
“These changes have helped, as have the very small amounts of rain we have had recently. But it is prudent to plan ahead and make sure we do everything we can to secure supplies for our customers next year, so that does mean having to plan for possible drought permits and water restrictions.”
South East Water said it will be working hard to protect its water resources this winter. It is asking customers to do their bit too, by making sure any water they use is not wasted, and reporting any leaks on the company’s dedicated leakline 0333 000 3330, so they can be fixed as soon as possible.