This winter seems set to be one of the wettest ever seen in East Anglia with nearly double the normal level of rain falling over the the last three months.

And while that has caused all kinds of problems with flooding, bosses at Anglian Water hope that it should mean there is no threat of a hosepipe ban for years to come.

The company's stocks of water in reservoirs, underground storage, and aquifers is now as high as anyone can remember - and officials are fairly confident stocks will remain good through this year and next no matter what the winter of 2024/5 holds.

Regan Harris, from Anglian Water, said: "Our stocks are looking very good. For instance at Alton Water, near Ipswich, we are 99.5% full - that's 11% up from where we would like to be by the end of March which is what we consider to be the end of the wet season.

East Anglian Daily Times: There should be no shortage in Alton Water this year.There should be no shortage in Alton Water this year. (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)

"Our underground supplies are as good as anyone can remember and the only places where levels are lower than full are a couple of reservoirs where the level was lowered for engineering work."

She said the amount of water now being stored gave the company confidence there would be no problems this year or in 2025.

Ms Harris said: "We always say we can manage water supplies if we have one dry winter - it's if we have two successive dry winters there can be a problem.

"That's why this winter makes us hopeful we should be all right whatever next winter brings - but we would still urge people to use water carefully."

Winter officially covers the months of December, January and February. During the first two months about 165% of average rainfall fell across the region - and this month so far we have had 175% of average.

East Anglian Daily Times: Millennium Green in Halesworth submerged by floodwater

If forecasters are right and there is more rain over the next few days the rainfall levels could be nudging twice that of an average winter.

And some of the heaviest rains came before winter started - Storm Babet was in October and Storm Ciaran in November which are both considered to be in the Autumn.


East Anglian Daily Times: Many parts of Suffolk were hit by Storm Babet before the winter even started.Many parts of Suffolk were hit by Storm Babet before the winter even started. (Image: Kris Wolton)

One of the problems that has been faced this winter is that the rain has been fairly relentless - there have been precious few dry spells between storms to allow land to recover between being drenched.

That has meant that in many cases the land has become so saturated that it cannot absorb any more water - and that it just has to run off.

Ms Harris said that dealing with flooding was a multi-agency issue but it affected Anglian Water because of problems with sewage plants.

She said: "Flooding is a major issue but it involves highways authorities who need to keep gullies clear and landowners who need to ensure ditches aren't blocked."

All this is a far cry from the summer of 2022 when months of low or no rainfall at all led to a drought being declared in the region.

East Anglian Daily Times: The rain is a marked contrast to the summer of 2022 when the grounds were left looking parched - this was Sutton Hoo in August.The rain is a marked contrast to the summer of 2022 when the grounds were left looking parched - this was Sutton Hoo in August. (Image: Paul Geater)

Average rainfall last winter helped ease the situation but the taps were really turned on in the second half of 2023.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “We have seen above average rainfall in our region every month since July 2023.

“This means our catchments are incredibly wet and rivers very reactive to any new rain that falls. Our incident team is on standby 24/7 to monitor and respond to the forecasts as we receive them.

“We continue to inspect assets and repair those which have been damaged by the storms. We are also collating flood data, and reviewing our flood warning procedures, following the recent flooding and will look to at any further work that may be needed in the future.

“Whilst we carry out our work it’s important that members of the public make sure they are signed up for flood warnings by visiting”