Anglian Water will be taking less than its allocation of water for public supply from the River Nene, to enable nearby farmers to take extra water for their crops, as recent dry weather continues.
The company has agreed with the Environment Agency and local drainage board to take 20 million litres of water a day less – equivalent to the domestic use of 150,000 customers – so this can be used instead by farmers from the south and east of Peterborough over towards the north of Cambridge. It will make up its allocation when there are additional flows in the river.
The exchange was first trialled after last year's summer heat wave, with great success.
Hannah Stanley-Jones, Anglian’s water resources manager said: "Despite the recent dry weather, we know our water resources are secure for this year – our reservoirs are 91% full, however groundwater and river levels are lower than we would expect at this time of year…It’s been drier than normal now for the last year, with only 76% of the average rainfall expected. More recently in April, we only saw 30%. We know local farmers need more water to irrigate their crops this year, which is why we're redirecting this precious resource to areas that need it most.”