Why are we developing DWMPs?
Drainage and wastewater management is essential for a strong economy, safe society and a healthy environment. Our infrastructure and the work we do to provide drainage and wastewater services delivers an essential service for communities within our operating area.
We serve around 4.6 million customers in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (IoW), and protect a wealth of natural beauty – with over 80 bathing waters, 3,400 km of rivers, four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the South Downs and New Forest National Parks and numerous internationally designated ecological sites.
A core focus of our wastewater service is to protect and further improve these natural assets, while continuing to build operational resilience in the face of high population growth and increasingly extreme weather – among a raft of other pressures. The challenge is significant.
Our wastewater operations
Across our region, we have 39,872 km of sewers and 3,420 pumping stations collecting wastewater from two million customers’ homes and businesses. Each day, 745 million litres of wastewater are carefully screened, filtered and treated at our 365 treatment works, meeting strict environmental standards before being returned to the environment.
During 2015–20, we invested over £400 million on our wastewater services including:
- maintenance on sewers and wastewater pumping stations
- replacing/refurbishing 100km of sewers based on our asset deterioration modelling and risk assessment
- investing £268 million to reduce the number of blockages in our sewer network.
The pressures we face
There are very real external pressures that we have to prepare for now. These include:
We realise the scale of the challenges we face. To respond to them, we need to think and act differently – including working more closely with other organisations that have responsibilities for water management and protection of the environment. As part of our approach to developing our DWMP, we’ll be taking the opportunity to find new ways to work more collaboratively.
For more information about the challenges and drivers behind our, please read our DWMP Delivery Plan.
The benefits of DWMPs
Our vision for the future is about transforming the role of water in our daily lives. It is about providing a resilient future for water in the South East by transforming the way we work and creating new solutions to meet the challenges ahead.
We’re committing to being bold and innovative so we can meet our customers’ expectations, keep water services affordable and, at the same time, improve our precious environment, support tourism, economic growth and invest in the future of our children and grandchildren.
The DWMP will give us valuable data about drainage and flooding across our region and help us identify where we need additional information to support our future plans. It will also help us identify where future investment in our wastewater infrastructure, people and systems is needed – taking into account economic, social and environmental factors.
In terms of the environment, the DWMP will provide a forum for us to engage with partners concerned with protecting the environment through the use of natural capital accounting – which we’ll be piloting in three catchments over the next five years – to appraise the options available.
Meanwhile, linking our DWMPs to the performance goals we aim to achieve by 2040, we can drive co-ordinated, timely and sustainable investment decisions across our business that support our objectives.
We expect our DWMPs to achieve the following key benefits:
Our DWMPs will be key in helping us achieve these benefits, which will be secured by working with others, adopting systems thinking, building resilience and delivering best value water and environmental engineering solutions.