Our overarching company-wide DWMP

The overarching company-level (Level 1) DWMP will be a regional plan summarising the policies that we will adopt to ensure a resilient future for the South-East, as well as our regional priorities and our proposed delivery programme. It will also provide an overview of the action plans from the 11 Level 2 river basin catchment plans. The Level 1 plan will be for regional stakeholders and our regulators.

We are taking a bottom up approach to the development of our company level DWMP. We will draw upon the existing data and information available from the strategic planning we are undertaking within our 11 Level 2 river basin catchments to develop the policies we need to ensure a resilient water future for the South East.


Ensuring linkages with other plans

We will ensure the policies and programmes in the DWMP have strong links with our Water Resource Management Plan (WRMP) and Drought Plan, so that wider objectives and future needs, as well as our decision making and timing of delivery, is co-ordinated where possible.

As we create and develop our first overarching DWMP, we will also take account of the key legislation that is relevant to it, such as:

  • Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006
  • Water Industry Act 1991
  • Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive 1991
  • Habitats Directive 1992
  • Environment Act 1995
  • Water Framework Directive 2000
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive 2001
  • Revised Bathing Water Directive 2006
  • Climate Change Act 2008
  • Flood and Water Management Act 2010


Future investment strategy

The overarching DWMP will identify the need for future investment in our wastewater infrastructure, people and systems. At the heart of our policy-making will be the economic, social and environmental appraisal of options, including an assessment of natural capital.

The Level 1 DWMP provides an opportunity to co-ordinate a range of drainage and wastewater treatment initiatives whether these address network capacity, operations and maintenance, customer engagement and behaviours, or incident response and recovery.

It is important that the DWMP identifies policies and programmes for drainage and wastewater systems that address multiple future pressures such as ageing infrastructure, customer behaviours, population growth, urban creep, new development and climate change. In making an explicit link between the DWMP and our performance goals to achieve by 2040, we will retain a strategic and long term focus on the plans which will drive co-ordinated, timely and sustainable investment decisions across our business units.

We are already implementing a “systems thinking” approach to management of wastewater by considering the planning and management of our wastewater systems as a complete ‘end to end’ system, and by assessing the interdependencies with other infrastructure and essential services. The approach means we will be integrating our long-term wastewater planning with our resilience framework and deliver further improvements in resilience.


Working with others

By working with others we will develop an innovative and strategic mix of solutions and policies to meet current and future needs which offer best value for money over the long term and have appropriate regard to the wider costs and benefits to the economy, society and the environment.

For the overarching DWMP we will engage with regional stakeholders, such as our Strategic Environment Panel and the Southern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC). We will take the opportunity to use the DWMP to change the level of engagement we have with other regional authorities and organisations especially where we can work in partnership to jointly fund and deliver schemes.

Our engagement will be based on the establishing a new type of working environment for our strategic partners and risk management authorities across the South East. We will bring together those organisations interested in water quality with those focused on flooding and drought to co-imagine, co-create and co-deliver policies and programmes of work.

We have already started to engage with regional stakeholders. We have had several meetings with the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) and the Environment Agency to discuss flooding and drainage issues, including how we can best work together to plan for the future.

Wider public consultation with our customers on the overarching Level 1 DWMP will be conducted in the summer of 2022 based on the approach undertaken for the WRMP with the aim to obtain meaningful feedback prior to finalisation of the plans. It will provide an opportunity for our customers and the wider public to have their say on all the Level 1 and Level 2 plans before they are finalised and published. The engagement and consultation periods have been built in to our delivery programme to recognise and allow sufficient time for meaningful engagement activities.

We will be providing further information about the overarching Level 1 company-wide DWMP as it is developed.

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