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Customers back Southern's water management plans

Water efficiency, water re-use and working with landowners and farmers to protect the quality of water in rivers are key areas strongly supported by Southern Water customers. And there is also backing for the company's “innovative new approach” to plan for more serious droughts in the future.

Extreme restrictions such as the use of standpipes will be halvedExtreme restrictions such as the use of standpipes will be halved

Southern Water has published a report that sets out the views of its customers following a public consultation on its 25-year strategy to secure water resources. Feedback from nearly 1,000 customers and interested parties were received during a public consultation this summer on Southern Water's draft Water Resources Management Plan for 2015-2040.

The response also shows where changes have been made to the plan as a result of new up-to-date information on population and housing growth forecasts and the feedback. 

It reveals that 83% of respondents show strong support for the company's new approach to plan for more serious droughts. The new approach includes the use of water restrictions, such as hosepipe bans, to one in every ten years on average and halve the risk of extreme restrictions, such as standpipes in the streets or rota cuts where water is only available for a few hours.

Meyrick Gough, Southern Water’s Strategy and Policy manager, said: “We were really pleased to receive such a wide-range of feedback on our plan and have spent the weeks since the consultation reviewing these and updating our plans.

A big change is the introduction of much more water efficiency to help our customers save water, save energy and save money. We heard strong support for this and as our programme to install water meters for the majority of our customers is due to finish in 2015 then we need to continue to support our customers to make savings.”

The revised plan will now see average water use reduce from the current 152l per person a day to below 130l by 2040.

Other key changes to the 25-year strategy include:

  • An increase in the amount of water needed by 2040
  • More leakage schemes in the first 10 years and final target of 78 million litres 
  • More schemes to work with farmers and landowners to protect rivers
  • A review of the schemes to supply Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
  • Aquifer Storage Recovery brought forward in Sussex to 2020
  • Water re-use brought forward in Medway, in Kent, to 2022
  • Desalination near Southampton instead of on the Isle of Wight
  • Increasing supplies through the Cross Solent Main to the Isle of Wight 

Southern Water has submitted the updated documents to Defra and the Environment Agency, and will publish its final Water Resources Management Plan when given the go-ahead. This will then lead the company’s strategy to supply water until the plan is updated again in five years time.

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