Storms see record rise in water levels

From left, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, and Isle of Wight Council leader Jonathan Bacon sign the formal application for a Solent Combined Authority in 2016

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THE rainy summer has been good for one thing – restoring groundwater levels.

Underground water levels in the South Downs – from where most of the Portsmouth area’s water is sourced – were well below average for most of the winter, leading to the possibility of water restrictions.

But the wet weather in April, June and this month has replenished the groundwater to record levels.

Portsmouth Water figures show more than 160mm of rain fell in Havant last month – around four times the June average.

By July 8, a total of 68mm of rain had fallen, with the average for the entire month being 49mm.

The groundwater levels at Idsworth, near Rowlands Castle, have increased to more than 24m.

The average for the time of year is around 18m.

At a time of year when groundwater levels usually go down rather than up, officials at Portsmouth Water said the only similar increase had been seen in 1963 since records began in 1932.

Meanwhile, Southern Water has reported its reservoirs are in a healthy position.

Bewl in Kent is more than 90 per cent full – the expected level for this time of year, and more than double what it was in February.