Southern Water publishes 50-year water resources plan
Southern Water has published its Water Resources Management Plan which sets out the company's 50-year plan for ensuring water resilience in the south east.
An immediate challenge is faced in Hampshire where less water will be taken from the iconic chalk Test and Itchen river systems, especially when flows drop in summer or following a dry autumn and winter.
A 10-year £800 million plan will see a raft of new measures including a reservoir to be built in collaboration with Portsmouth Water.
In its supply area the company will add pipelines across the region so it can move water about and a link to Bournemouth Water for a bulk supply. Southern is also looking at building desalination plants and recycling water in the future.
"Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan made a speech this spring where he spoke of the ‘jaws of death' for water- - climate change and population growth," says Nicholas Price, water resource planning manager at Southern Water. "Our analysis shows this is no exaggeration - the jaws of death are closing and when the teeth meet, it is this part of the country that will feel the bite."
"With the UN's COP25 meeting on climate change taking place in Madrid this week, the UN general secretary is warning that the point of no return is approaching. Everything we do to our environment has to be considered in that light - local problems are part of a global problem," he added.
Price says that there is no single solution to ensuring tap water keeps flowing. "Staying resilient is about behaviour change and looking after the resources we currently have as much as it is about us building new resources. We are committing to cutting leakage in half by 2050 and we are asking our customers to use water wisely. Every drop humans take out from the environment means less for nature," he says.
Solutions such as desalination and water recycling plants may also be necessary in other parts of the region.
Says Price: "There is no magic bullet for securing new water supplies - every alternative has its own environmental impacts. The most important thing is working together - us, our customers and neighbouring water companies must collaborate to ensure the environment thrives and taps keep flowing."
You can view the full plan here.
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