Three of the UK's biggest water companies have lifted hosepipe bans which have been in place since April.

Anglian Water, which serves more than four million people in the east, as well as Thames Water and Southern Water made the announcement yesterday.

The hosepipe bans were brought in to combat drought, after two unusually dry winters left some groundwater supplies and rivers as low as in the drought year of 1976.

But the restrictions introduced early in April were followed by record rainfall across the UK for that month, and more rain in May and the beginning of June.

A spokesman for Anglian Water said that the decision had been made because of a combination of factors combining to ease pressure on the water system.

He said: "It's been because of supply and demand, it has recharged.

"It also is because we have had such a cold, wet May and June following a wet April, which means demand has been suppressed."

A spokesman for Thames Water, the UK's largest water company with 8.8 million customers in London and the Thames Valley area, said: "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."