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Kent town benefits from cutting edge technology to help reduce storm overflows

Southern Water is teaming up with Kent County Council and Dover District Council to slow the flow of rainwater into our sewers - and cut storm overflows in Deal

Southern Water is teaming up with Kent County Council and Dover District Council to slow the flow of rainwater into our sewers - and cut storm overflows in Deal.

Improvements in the town form part of a wider £2bn investment in Southern Water’s pipes and sewage infrastructure to help to reduce flooding incidents and will contribute toward our targets of significantly reducing storm overflows by 2030.

The town’s pathfinder project aims to install dozens of state-of-the-art smart water butts at homes Claremont Road, Grange Road, Cowper Road, and The Grove. Nearly 50 have been installed so far.

The smart butts are solar powered and have technology that enables them to drain water automatically in preparation for upcoming rainfall – allowing volumes of surface water run-off to be more controlled.

Two further milestones for the project have also been reached, with Kent County Council completing work to increase the size of highways gullies in Albert Road, to help rainwater run-off.

The first person to take a look at the smart butts was Co-chair of the Deal Water Action Taskforce (Deal-WAT), Dover and Deal MP, Natalie Elphicke.

Natalie Elphicke MP said:

“I’m determined to see an end to Deal’s flooding problems – and to stop the use of storm overflows. That’s why I set up the Deal Water Action Taskforce with Southern Water and we’ve made incredible progress. This work is bringing fresh thinking and investment to our area that makes us a national leader in the issue of tackling storm overflows and sewage discharge prevention.

“It will make our seas and streets cleaner, and protect homes and businesses from flooding too. I’m really pleased with the progress that has been made already and I hope everyone in the community will join in by helping to capture water with measures like the new smart butts.” 

Additionally, Southern Water has also completed an upgrade of the surface water pipe which will redirect more surface water away from Albert Road to Matthews Close Dyke. This will relieve the strain on Albert Road and help deal with high volumes of excess water during heavy rain.

Head of Southern Water’s Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force  Dr Nick Mills, said:

“We’re really pleased to be working so closely with partners on this project in Deal, which will have a significant impact on our work to reduce storm overflows. We’re excited to be installing smart water butts, if they are successful we will see how we can roll them out in other areas in the future.”


Councillor Trevor Bond, Dover District Council and Kent County Council, said:  

"People of Deal welcome this initiative by Southern Water as yet another step in addressing the flooding problem that has plagued us for the last 20 years. It is great to see residents are environmentally conscious and want to work with us to reduce flooding.  

"One of the most pleasing aspects of Southern Water's Pathfinder project has been the positive reaction of residents who have received a water butt or planter."  


Elaine Dean, who had a smart water butt fitted, said:

"I'm very happy with the water butt. It's a very good idea by Southern Water and I hope it helps reduce flooding in the area.  

"I'd definitely recommend saying yes, if offered a water butt or planter. The team installed mine very quickly and it looks neat and tidy."


Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Councillor David Brazier said:

“The work we completed in June 2022 to increase the number of road drainage gullies and increase the size of connecting pipes is critical to this scheme being undertaken by Southern Water.

Working collaboratively, we delivered improvements to our drainage systems in the area that have a greater chance of being able to cope when we get significant levels of rainfall in a short space of time. This reduces the risk of disruption to motorists and other road users.”