Posted: Wednesday 16th May 2018

Water companies in the south east have joined forces to share ideas on how to keep water flowing to their millions of customers in the decades ahead.

Representatives from five water companies that supply customers across the region came together at a consultation event to talk about their draft Water Resources Management Plans (WRMP).

Together these companies provide drinking water to more than 4.2 million homes and businesses, but they all face the challenge of climate change and significant population growth.

South East Water, Southern Water, SES Water, Portsmouth Water and Affinity Water shared their plans at a conference on April 18 at the Hilton Hotel, Gatwick Airport and gave delegates an opportunity to have their say.

Included in the companies' WRMPs are a series of schemes to develop new sources of water, reduce demand and cut leakage, and move more water around the region.

These schemes include:

Three new reservoirs at Havant Thicket, Hampshire, Broad Oak near Canterbury and Arlington, East Sussex

New pipelines between Portsmouth Water and Southern Water

Water re-use schemes in Aylesford, Kent, Peacehaven, East Sussex and Ford, West Sussex

Desalination plants at Fawley, Hampshire and on the tidal River Arun, West Sussex

Large-scale metering programmes by Affinity Water and SES Water

Roll-out of more smart meters

Leakage reduction activity

New pipelines from Thames Water to Affinity Water and South East Water

Most of the South East area is classified as being in serious water stress. The companies are all currently consulting on their WRMPs, which will shape the way they supply water to homes, businesses, communities and industry in the future.

The plans have been informed by the work of the Water Resources in the South East group, which takes a regional view of water resources to identify opportunities to develop new sources and transfers that benefit multiple companies.

Working together across geographic boundaries allows the companies to make better use of the region's resources, reduce environmental impact, and offer customers better value.

Bella Davies, Director of the South East Rivers Trust was among those who attended. She said: "It was really helpful to hear what is currently happening and what will be coming next, succinctly presented by each company. It provided a great overview and the opportunity to get a better understanding by asking questions and listening to the perspectives of others. It will help us respond to the company consultations in a more informed manner and support our engagement with others about the future of water resources in the region."

Alan Turner from Kent Council added: "It was very useful event, particularly as there is so much overlap between suppliers in Kent. There is clearly an increasing emphasis on regional challenges and issues and how the companies respond to this collaboratively. I would welcome further focus and engagement on this in the future."

Lee Dance, Head of Water Resources at South East Water said: "The conference provided a great opportunity for stakeholders to hear from the region's water companies about our plans for the future and how together they address the challenges facing the south east.

"We are all currently consulting on our plans and are keen to hear the views of a wide-range of interested parties. The event gave people the opportunity to find out more detail about what we are proposing, ask questions and provide feedback.

"It also highlighted just how much collaboration there is between the region's companies, supported by the work of the Water Resources in the South East group."

Attendees included representatives from environmental groups, County Councils, consumer organisations, charities, water retailers and the business community.

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April 2021

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