In June, I warned our customers that changes to the new licence governing how much water we can take from the River Test combined with water levels dropping fast meant that there was a real risk of hosepipe bans this summer.

We'd like to thank everyone who understood that although this is difficult, the changes are designed to protect some very precious habitats. The feedback has been enormously positive.

Compared to previous years people in the area served by the River Test are sometimes using as much as 10 million litres a day less. We'd like to say a big ‘thank you' - you're helping to protect the amazing habitats of the River Test and avoid a hosepipe ban.

For our part we're continuing to chase down leaks with extra teams operating across the area all equipped with the latest acoustic logger technology.

We're making good progress on the massive £800 million plan to develop new water resources for the area and a new 15 million litres a day bulk supply agreement with our neighbours Portsmouth Water has been agreed.

Last month as a precautionary measure we applied for a drought permit. This special licence from the Environment Agency will permit us to continue taking water the river even if flows fall below levels in place under the stringent new licence terms adopted in March.

In the weeks since then we have consulted with our stakeholders such as wildlife groups, Natural England and the River Trust and the Agency held a hearing on August 6th to discuss our permit.

We've been lucky that this summer did not have the prolonged heatwave we experienced in 2018 and some heavy rainfall has helped flows stay just above the key trigger levels which would mean implementing the permit.

That does not mean we can all relax. Flows are remain close to the level where the permit must be activated and hosepipe bans imposed.

We've been taking out adverts calling on everyone to save water and protect the river, helping our customers to save water by supplying gadgets to assist in water efficiency. Combined with the rain, the region is using far less water that last summer.

We will continue to keep you updated and have special pages on our web site here which will hopefully answer most questions:

You can now monitor the River Flows here:

Nigel Hepworth

Water Resources Policy & Regulation Manager