Water chiefs lift hosepipe ban
Millions of people have had a hosepipe ban lifted following weeks of wet weather.
United Utilities (UU) imposed the ban on homes in the north west of England six weeks ago after the driest six monthly spell for 70 years.
The firm said there had been "significant rainfall" over the past month allowing "water resources to recover sufficiently".
But customers are still being asked to "use water wisely", and warned some reservoirs were still "very low".
The July 9 ban was the first in the region for 14 years and restricted the use of hosepipes or sprinklers for watering private gardens, and washing private cars. Anybody caught flouting it faced a fine of up to £1,000.
Richard Blackwell, United Utilities' supply demand manager, said: "Reservoir levels have risen in recent weeks in Cumbria and North Wales and have stabilised in the Pennines with the rainfall over the last month.
"We now have sufficient reservoir storage overall to be able to lift the ban. This will come as welcome news to our millions of customers, who have been extremely patient and conscientious in their water usage."
He added: "Overall, the situation is much improved and the ban is no longer required to safeguard essential supplies.
"We'd like to thank customers for bearing with us since July 9. Although the ban is over, some of our reservoirs are still very low, so it's important that people continue to do what they can to save water around the home and garden."
The firm said since the ban was imposed, customers had saved a total of four billion litres of water - enough to provide more than 230 toilet flushes per household. UU has seven million customers across Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire.