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Cutting edge technology to be piloted to help reduce storm overflows and flooding in Kent and the Isle of Wight

New AI technology is being installed as part of our ongoing efforts to reduce storm overflows

New AI technology is being installed as part of our ongoing efforts to reduce storm overflows.

Our network will benefit from a product called ‘CENTAUR® Gates’ that uses artificial intelligence to respond to storm water in the system in real time which utilises capacity within the existing pipe network to store it, preventing spills from the target storm overflow. 

How does the technology work?

The gate actively controls flow during any storm event, balancing the use of that existing capacity against the levels in the storm overflow. This helps prevent spills and enabling excess water to be passed to our treatment works for processing rather than it being released through a storm overflow.


An infographic explaining how centaur gates work
An infographic explaining how centaur gates work


On the Isle of Wight, one of these ‘gates’ were installed at Terminus Road in Cowes and two further gates will be installed in Kent at Whitstable at Diamond Road and Tankerton Circus in the coming months. They are some of the first locations in the United Kingdom to benefit from this technology.

The work is part of our pathfinder projects that look at nature-based and engineering solutions to slow-the-flow of water entering our network to reduce storm overflows.

Using state-of-the-art technology is an important part of  Clean Rivers and Seas Plan, that sets out how £1.5 billion will be spent between 2025 and 2035 to deliver long-term solutions that get to the root cause of storm overflow use.

Southern Water Pathfinder delivery lead, Keith Herbert, said:

“We’re keen explore innovative new ways including cutting edge technology like this to help reduce storm overflows. We believe if this is successful it has the potential to be a gamechanger as it is more cost-effective and less carbon heavy than other methods like building storm tanks.

“This adds to the work we’re already doing in Whitstable and on the Isle of Wight to reduce storm overflows through installing water butts and utilising sustainable urban drainage solutions and improving and optimising our existing network.

It is hoped using this technology will reduce storm overflows in these areas and its introduction and could pave the way for more of them to be introduced across Hampshire, Kent, Sussex and the Isle of Wight.

 James Hale EMS Smart Wastewater Director, said:

“The Clean Rivers and Seas Taskforce have been proactive in adopting the CENTAUR® system to provide autonomous local control of storm overflows within the Pathfinder catchments. The projects have moved at pace to deliver environmental improvements for their customers, and we are excited to continue to support Southern Water to reduce storm overflow discharges across the region.”

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