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After weeks of heavy rain and with storms on the way, Thames Water has lifted its ban on watering crops and washing cars.

The company, supplying London and the Home Counties, had planned to keep the hosepipe ban introduced at the height of the drought on August 24th, in place till 2023.

But today it sent customers a message stating: “We’re ending our hosepipe ban.

“We’re pleased to announce that the hosepipe ban is over for everyone across our region. Thank you so much for all your efforts to help save water.

“The wet weather throughout autumn has begun to make a real difference, following on from a year of below-average rain.

“In many places, the ground is becoming wet enough for water to sink down into the underground sources that feed local rivers.

“You’ve played a vital part by using water wisely – we’re really grateful for all you’ve done. “We’re working hard to improve things, with our teams fixing around 1,000 leaks a week.

“We still need more showers through the winter to continue filling underground sources and rivers, but our forecasts suggest that even 60 per cent of normal winter rain will be enough to return to a healthy position.

“If you’d like to carry on the good work and keep saving water, this really helps the environment because we can take less from rivers and boreholes.

“Thanks again for helping us remove the restrictions.”

It follows weeks of rain, with floods in many places – and weather experts warn more is on the way.

The ban was introduced in the heat of summer, with a lack of rain resulting in reservoir and river levels dwindling.

Two weeks ago Southern Water lifted its three-month-old hosepipe ban for millions of homes and gardens in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

And South East Water, serving large parts of Kent and Sussex, said its ban, imposed on August 12th, would remain.

It’s not yet clear whether South East Water will now follow Thames Water’s lead to lift it early.

Along with the recent rain, there’s been a huge drop in demand as summer-parched gardens no longer need watering and swimming pools don’t need topping up.

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