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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 11:07 GMT
Move to extend Bewl Water permit
Bewl Water reservoir on the Kent/Sussex border, about a third full in January 2006
Bewl Water was only 37% full at the beginning of 2006
Southern Water has applied for an extension to its drought permit on the Bewl Water reservoir.

The company is being allowed to refill the depleted reservoir, which supplies customers in Kent and Sussex, with water from the River Medway.

The Environment Agency's drought permit runs until the end of March, but Southern Water has asked for it to continue until the end of April.

Bewl Water should be at 90% capacity but it is only just over half full.

'Real difference'

Southern Water's Meyrick Gough said: "If we continue pumping into Bewl until the end of April, it will make a real difference to the reservoir level.

"It is essential we get as much water into Bewl ready for the summer because many water resources across the region, particularly those underground, are at their lowest level ever following back-to-back dry winters."

Southern Water said above average rainfall and higher river flows during February had helped the situation a little.

The original drought permit application was scrutinised over wildlife fears and, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England, a lack of strategy.

Emergency drought move approved
26 Jan 06 |  England
Drought measures 'lack strategy'
10 Jan 06 |  England
Wildlife fears over drought move
12 Dec 05 |  England
Moves to boost reservoir levels
11 Dec 05 |  England

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