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Beating the drought restrictions

Grassclippings - Drought RestrictionsThe Environment Agency  agreed a Drought Permit on February 28, 2012, to help refill the South East’s largest reservoir following the driest 12 months since 1976.

Bewl Water, in Lamberhurst, Kent, is currently only 40 per cent full, when normally at this time of year it would be nearer 90 per cent.  Southern Water applied to the agency for emergency powers to help refill it, allowing it to take more water from the River Medway, under certain conditions.

Meyrick Gough, Water Planning and Strategy Manager, said: “Kent is experiencing the driest 10 months since 1888 so we welcome the Environment Agency’s decision to allow us to pump more water into Bewl in time for the summer. 

This is not good news for home owners and their gardens.  So how can you prepare your lawn for drought conditions and water restrictions?  Apart from praying for much needed rainfall by way of silent pray or a more visual rain dance, your lawn is tougher than you think and you can easily prepare it.

Drought Busting Tips

  1. Get rid of any weeds and moss as these rogue visitors take up any available water that the turf grasses should have and will need.
  2. Fertilise your lawn - healthy grasses survive drought better.
  3. Scarify your lawn - get rid of any dead thatch and fibre that will prevent water percolation and which may form dry patch areas in the lawn that are hard to re wet.
  4. Aerate your lawn to aid water percolation and ease any compaction so that the grass roots can go deeper and water will not run off the hard top surface.
  5. Raise your height of cut to around 5 cm as the longer the grass the better it will survive over a tightly mown lawn.
  6. Control and lawn worm casts to rid any opportunity for weeds and moss to inhabit the soil rich areas
  7. Over seed your lawn with new grass seed containing desirable turf grasses to oust the weed grasses

“The reservoir is a key resource.  It supplies not only Southern Water’s customers in the Medway towns, Thanet and Hastings but is also used by other water companies. 
Therefore, it is vital that we can put more water into it - we would like to see it reach levels of 70 per cent before the end of March.

“However, we still require more rain to help replenish our underground sources and continue to ask customers to use water wisely and look on our website for advice on how to do this.”

Every year, water from the Medway is used to top up Bewl reservoir. Previously, Southern Water could not take water from the river if the flow rate had dropped below the 275 million litres per day level, which is set in the current licence agreement.  The Drought Permit allows Southern Water to continue taking water from the river until the flow rate of the river drops to 100 million litres per day, between the day the permit is granted and March 31. Southern Water must apply for a permit extension if it wants to continue after this date.

Read more on Southern Water

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