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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 October 2006, 07:03 GMT 08:03 UK
Hosepipe bans in place for winter
Water saving measures will remain in place this winter
Water-saving measures are set to remain in place this winter in the drought-hit South East, two companies have said.

Southern Water and South East Water have both said that underground water levels remain low and a year's rain is needed in six months to boost supplies.

South East Water has said its hosepipe ban could remain in place in Kent and Sussex until after Christmas.

A spokesman for Southern Water said its ban was being reviewed daily, but there was no sign of it being waived.

The companies said that despite recent rain, the region was still suffering its driest period since the 1930s.

Meyrick Gough, Southern Water's water planning and strategy manager, said: "We are still in the grip of the drought and need to have above-average rainfall throughout the winter to bring ground water supplies up to normal levels.

"Currently, ground water levels in the aquifers are well below average and supplies remain seriously depleted."

South East Water has said throughout 2006 that the hosepipe ban would continue "until there is enough rainfall for the company to be confident it has sufficient supplies to meet demands for water next summer".

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