United Utilities has withdrawn its drought permit application for its Rivington reservoir chain as recent rainfall has allowed water levels to recover sufficiently.

The company applied to the Environment Agency in early July for a permit to reduce the amount of water its Rivington reservoir system releases into the River Yarrow.

The complex at Rivington comprises eight reservoirs known as Higher Roddlesworth, Lower Roddlesworth, Rake Brook, Angleszarke, High Bollough, Yarrow, Upper Rivington and Lower Rivington.

July rainfall has allowed levels at the reservoir system near Horwich in Lancashire to increase significantly.

Upper Roddlesworth, for example, has recovered to 62 per cent, from a recent low of 21%- meaning the drought permit is no longer required.

United Utilities today confirmed, however, that the hosepipe ban remains in place, as overall reservoir levels across the north west have not yet recovered sufficiently.

Dr Richard Blackwell, United Utilities' water supply and demand manager said: "Recent rainfall has had a significant impact on water levels at Rivington, meaning that the drought permit is no longer required.

"While the recovery at Rivington is a very positive sign, we are not yet in a position to lift the hosepipe ban, as overall reservoir levels across the north west are still low for the time of year. Some Pennine reservoirs, in particular, remain less than half full.

"We're monitoring reservoir stocks on a daily basis, and can assure customers that we won't impose the ban for a day longer than is necessary.

"In the meantime, we are asking our customers to please continue observing the hosepipe ban and do what they can to save water in other areas of their daily lives.

"There are simple things we can all do, such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth and running washing machines and dishwashers with a full load."

The water firm recently withdrew two other drought permit applications lodged with the Environment Agency, following recent heavy rains in Cumbria – one for Ennerdale Water, in west Cumbria, and the other for Windermere in the Lakes.

A further drought permit, for Longendale V alley, near Glossop, was approved by the Environment Agency last week, giving United Utilities the option to reduce the amount of water its Longdendale reservoir system releases into the River Etherow.

No further drought permit applications have been made by United Utilities, or are pending approval from the Environment Agency.

Bill Darbyshire, Regional Drought Manager for the Environment Agency said: "The Environment Agency has worked closely with United Utilities to protect the needs of people and the environment through this dry period.

"Although the lakes, rivers and reservoirs aren't yet at full capacity, it is a positive step forward for the environment that a drought permit for the Rivington Reservoir system is no longer needed.

"We are continuing to work with local communities and businesses to understand their needs through the ongoing situation.

"We will also continue to work with United Utilities throughout this drought period and the Environment Agency will continue to monitor the environment as the situation slowly recovers.

"The Rivington chain provides enough water to supply around 70,000 households.

"It is used to supply the nearby Wigan area and can also be used to supply Liverpool, Merseyside and Manchester.

The hosepipe ban was introduced on July 9, following six months of exceptionally dry weather in the region.