Rainfall and Resources

December 2017:

Groundwater levels: Significantly below average

Bough Beech Reservoir: Below average

The summer rainfall was welcomed as it reduced demand for water and benefitted the environment. However, it was limited compared to the low rainfall over the last year and we depend mostly on winter rainfall for the water we supply to our customers. This is known as the ‘recharge season’ when the rain is able to reach the water-holding rock underground, known as an aquifer, which can then be abstracted for treatment. In the summer and early autumn, the majority of rainfall evaporates quickly or is used by plants and trees rather than seeping deeper into the soil and below. Groundwater levels are important as 85 per cent of the water we supply to our customers comes from underground.

Last winter was very cold and grey but it was actually quite dry and we only received two-thirds of the long-term average rainfall. This balance between rainfall and demand has resulted in lower than average groundwater levels and the south east is already classified as being in ‘serious water stress’ due to low rainfall and the increasing demand for water from households, businesses and agriculture. We are now in the recharge season, which typically runs from October to March, and looking ahead over the next few months we will need to see above average rainfall levels to enable groundwater to return to normal. A second dry winter could result in water supply restrictions, such as a hosepipe ban, in the spring, so we continue to carefully monitor both our resource levels and the Met Office long-term weather forecast.

To minimise the need for restrictions, our advice to customers is to use water wisely; for example by taking shorter showers, fixing dripping taps and always putting full loads in washing machines and dishwashers. To find out how your household could be more water efficient and apply for free water saving devices go to www.seswater.co.uk/calculator.


Current Resource Levels


please click on the diagram above for an enlarged copy (pdf)


Information updated on 4 December. Click on graph to enlarge.

Bough Beech Reservoir Level

 Information updated on 4 December. Click on graph to enlarge.

Well House Inn Reference Borehole Level

Graph showing the water level in the Well House Inn borehole

Information updated on 4 December. Click on graph to enlarge.

Water demand

Information updated on 4 December. Click on graph to enlarge.

Raw Data Spreadsheet

To download this spreadsheet please click on the following link:

excel.zip - a ZIP format file containing the full set of all available data in a multi-sheet Excel format spreadsheet. (data updated monthly)

Information updated on 16 October 2017