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London (AFP) June 13, 2012
British gardeners have been told they can use their hosepipes again after drought prompted a two-month ban -- but after weeks of pouring rain, their lawns will be looking fresh anyway.
Days after the ban was brought into force in early April, the skies opened -- delivering the wettest April in over 100 years, and causing flooding in some areas.
Three of the seven water companies which imposed bans in early April will officially end them on Thursday.
The restrictions, covering the homes of some 20 million Britons, were introduced to combat drought in southern and eastern England after two consecutive dry winters.
"We have had two-and-a-half times the average rainfall for April, we have had steady showers in May and then monsoon downpours in June. That's changed things," said a spokesman for Thames Water, one of the firms lifting the ban.
Anglian Water and Southern Water are also lifting their bans, though South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast are maintaining them due to low groundwater levels.
The Environment Agency said the recent downpours, which soaked more than a million revellers who crammed into London to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee this month, had boosted river levels and reservoir stocks.
More downpours are expected across Britain this week.
The Environment Agency has two flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected, and 19 flood alerts signalling possible flooding, in place across the country.
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