Relief for East Anglian gardeners as hosepipe ban lifted
Families, gardeners and allotment holders in the region have breathed a collective sigh of relief following Anglian Water's decision to lift its hosepipe ban from today.
After more than two months of carrying heavy buckets to and from paddling pools and greenhouses, Anglian Water customers can roll out their hosepipes once again without fear of breaking the law.
Saffron Curtis, 28, of Roughton, said her daughters, Carmen, four, and Isobel, two, had been affected by the ban, and were thrilled it had now been lifted.
She said: 'My two girls haven't been able to go in their paddling pool. Every time the sun comes out they ask me if they can go in it. I tried explaining that there hasn't been enough rain and that the land dries out but they don't understand because they can have a bath when they want.'
Keith Goldsmith, 74, who is a member of Thetford Gardening and Allotment Club, shouted 'hallelujah' when he heard the ban had been lifted. 'It is absolutely super,' he said. 'I am 74 and it is a lot of hard work walking about with a full watering can.
'I have got three greenhouses to look after – two on my allotment and a third on the club's allotment. The plants in there are undercover and the rain can't get at them so even though it has been wet they have still needed watering.'
EDP gardening columnist Alan Gray, who is one of the owners of East Ruston Old Vicarage gardens and nursery, said: 'It has been a difficult time. I think a lot of people have been put off growing or buying plants this year because of the hosepipe ban. I have heard of some garden centres where sales have been down 45pc. People aren't going to buy plants if they are not going to be able to water them.'
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The hosepipe ban for Norfolk, Waveney and the Fens was introduced on April 5 after the driest 18-month period in more than a century had left reserves desperately low. The restriction was followed by three months of heavy rain.
Although river and reservoir levels are now at normal levels, concern remains over levels in many of the region's underground aquifers, which supply 50pc of the water to Anglian Water's customers.
Paul Valleley, Anglian Water's director of water services asked customers to continue using water wisely.
He said the company was continuing to tackle leakage and was investing in drought-busting schemes to drill new bore holes and improve the storage and movement of water.
No one was prosecuted for using a hosepipe in the Anglian Water area while the ban was in place.