We are exploring innovative ways to secure water resources for the future and protect the environment in the South East.
We take the water we need to supply customers from underground aquifers, rivers and reservoirs.
Other water users also take supplies from these sources – including farmers and commercial business. Healthy river flows are also needed to support the wildlife in our environment.
The current regulations were established to protect the environment and ensure companies can meet future demands.
However, Southern Water has been exploring innovative ways in which to meet the challenge of balancing its share of the water supply with the environment.
A scarcity charge on water could be included in our water resource plans. This approach would ‘value’ the water according to its scarcity so water which is abstracted from an area which has less or no water to spare, would attract a greater shadow scarcity charge.
By incorporating this into our planning it would encourage water companies to make the most of water they abstract and consider more options.
We are exploring ways to make our plans for supplying drinking water more resilient by designing systems to cope with more severe droughts.
This simple approach encourages more ‘water trading’ between our own water resource zones and between other water companies.
We have looked at the effect of this on our current 25-year Water Resources Management Plan.
We have held a series of workshops with industry regulators Defra, Ofwat and the Environment Agency to explore these ideas.