Southern granted drought permit to help refill depleted Bewl reservoir

The Environment Agency (EA) has issued a temporary amendment to Southern Water’s abstraction licence with a winter drought permit, to help refill the company’s Bewl Water reservoir (pictured).

Southern applied for the permit on 5 January when it said the reservoir was only 42% creating a need to take more water from the River Medway to help refill it.

A prolonged dry in the South East had left many groundwater supplies and some reservoirs lower than normal for the time of year said EA area director, Julie Foley. “Although it has been wet over the past few weeks, overall this winter across south east England there has been lower-than-average amounts of rain,” said.

Southern Water already routinely takes water from the River Medway to fill the reservoir. The change to the permit – which runs until the end of March – will enable the company to increase the amount of water it is already licensed to abstract from the River Medway to secure supplies for the summer.

Southern will be permitted to take water at river levels that are lower than the previous limit.