Heavy rainfall boosts reservoir - but we need more

Arlington Reservoir
Arlington Reservoir

THE RAINY start to the new year has helped boost water levels at Arlington Reservoir.

Towards the end of last year water officials were warning of a drought situation in South East Water’s supply area after the Sussex region saw only 40 per cent of the long term average rainfall.

The 12 months from November 2010 to October 2011 were drier than 1976, 1934 and 1921 - all of which coincide with historical extreme drought events.

Before Christmas, levels at Arlington Reservoir were 29 per cent full and the situation was compounded by water levels in the company’s groundwater sources – particularly along the Seaford coast where water is drawn from chalk aquifers – were also below average for the time of year.

This week officials revealed water levels had risen to 54.1 per cent at Arlington but warned people should still use water wisely.

The spokesperson said, “The very wet weather we have been having has certainly helped stabilise the position for now.

“The amount of water available for use in Arlington Reservoir is now 54.7 per cent when it was around 20 per cent at the end of November.

“We would, however, still want to see more winter rainfall to get this strategic reservoir as close to full as possible by the end of March, in readiness for the expected increase in demand for water this spring and summer.

“We are constantly working on moving water around our network of pipes, while we continue to ask our customers to think about their water use and not waste such a precious resource.”