Water bosses have revealed that East Surrey was soaked with record rainfall last month.
Sutton and East Surrey Water said January brought the highest rainfall in its supply area for any month since records began.
The company said that at 232mm, or 9.15in, it was not just more than three times the long-term average for the month of 75mm, or 2.9in. The company stated that it was also the wettest month ever recorded since the company began compiling figures in 1910.
The previous wettest January was in 1988 when 180mm, or 7in, fell. The previous wettest month was September, 1968, when 225mm, or 8.8in, was recorded. Water levels at both of Sutton and East Surrey Water’s reference boreholes, which enable the company to monitor underground resources, are currently at the maximum for the time of year. The company extracts 85% of its water from underground aquifers.
The remaining 15% comes from a surface reservoir at Bough Beech, near Edenbridge in Kent.
That is full – 11% above average for the time of year.
The company said rainfall in December was 193mm, or 7.6in – 233% of the long-term average of 83mm, or 3.2in. It was the second highest December rainfall recorded - the highest being December, 1914.
Richard Rap, Sutton and East Surrey Water’s operations manager (production), said: “This level of rainfall is unprecedented and is causing serious problems locally and nationally.”
He said: “We are all hoping for a prolonged dry period, but the silver lining is that it means our resources are at their highest level for this time of year.
“If this position is maintained, it will be much easier to cope with a long, hot summer.”
Winter rainfall is crucial because it replenishes the underground aquifers.
Rainfall at other times of the year tends to be sucked up by growing plants, evaporates or cannot seep deep into the ground because it is hard.
Sutton and East Surrey Water supplies water to more than 675,000 people in East Surrey and parts of West Sussex, west Kent and south London. Website:www.waterplc.com Detailed regional rainfall and resource information is available on the Environment Agency website at: www.environment-agency.gov.uk