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Southern Water nears £1bn of spending on water and waste infrastructure since 2020

On the eve of a vital year for the UK’s water industry, Southern Water has revealed just how much it has spent over the last four years on water and waste projects - so customers can see exactly what has been delivered in their communities.

On the eve of a vital year for the UK’s water industry, Southern Water has revealed just how much it has spent over the last four years on water and waste projects - so customers can see exactly what has been delivered in their communities. 

The 2024/5 financial year marks the final stretch for both water companies’ current five-year spending period, and Southern Water’s own Turnaround Plan – designed to deliver  fast-tracked performance improvements across the board. Meanwhile, it also promises a General Election, as the various challenges facing our industry raise debate among politicians and voters. 

This backdrop provides the ideal moment to reflect on what we have spent since spring 2020 on planned infrastructure projects, broken down county-by-county, as we strive to live up to our customers’ expectations - and what we are planning to spend in this space by this time next year.  

Almost £1bn has now been invested in our water and waste networks through this funding stream over four years, with plans to pass the £1.5bn mark by this time next year. By county: 

  • £251 million has already been spent in Hampshire - including £97 million so far on our Water for Life Hampshire scheme which through initiatives like building the UK’s first major reservoir since the 1980s will secure a stable water supply in the county for generations to come - with a further £179 million allocated for the next year 
  • £5.6 million has been spent on the Isle of Wight since 2020 - including £3m on improving the resilience of water supply sites so they better withstand extreme weather events such as the recent Storm Ciaran - with £15.9 million more planned by this time next year 
  • £333 million has been spent over four years in Sussex - including £157m on improving our wastewater treatment processes to improve the quality of final effluent discharge at 37 sites, reducing any impact on the local environment - and £137 million still allocated for the year ahead 
  • £276 million has been spent in Kent since 2020 - including £30m on increasing stormwater storage at 16 sites to reduce our use of storm overflows during heavy rainfall - with £151 million more allocated for the 2024/25 financial year. 

This spending accounts only for planned construction projects relating to our water and wastewater infrastructure. It does not include regular reactive projects and workstreams, the £45 million innovative approaches of our Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force to cutting storm overflows, or the money we are spending above and beyond what we agreed with regulators before 2020 to drive forward our Turnaround Plan, particularly in combatting pollution and flooding incidents.  

John Penicud, Southern Water’s Director for Wastewater Operations, said: 

“As we enter an absolutely crucial year for Southern Water and the wider water industry, it is right that we are open with our customers about what we are spending on improving our performance and where the money is going. 

“Contrary to some claims aired in the media and among the public, I’d like to reassure you that we are spending our bill payers’ and our shareholders’ money in an ambitious, targeted and evidence-based way to fix the issues we know we face. These figures on planned infrastructure projects demonstrate that very clearly, and we will keep pushing ahead to achieve the results everyone wants to see.” 

Many of these schemes, initiatives and programmes will not stop in spring 2025. They will continue under our future business plan, sent to Ofwat in November and which we hope will be agreed next winter. 

This is our largest and most ambitious plan ever. At £7.8 billion, it is double the size of our previous programme and will deliver the single biggest enhancement investment in our environment of £3.3 billion in our history. 

Southern Water’s Chief Executive Lawrence Gosden has discussed this spending further in a special blog.

Below is a breakdown of this 2020-24 spending.  

 

Entire region 

  • 2020-24 spending = £992m 
  • 2024-25 planned spending = £569m 
  • Total planned spending for AMP7 = £1.561bn 

 

Individual schemes, not county specific but totalling £126m

WATER 

  • £3.7m - tackling leakage (find-and-fix teams) 
  • £6.5m - upgrades to sites and networks 
  • £21m - new connections to enable growth 
  • £4.7m - improved resilience of our sites 
  • £25m - improving quality and quantity of water put into supply 
  • £4m - investigating new water sources.   

WASTEWATER  

  • £900k - improved biogas recycling, powering our sites 
  • £4.3m - infiltration reduction schemes in areas with high groundwater levels 
  • £6.3m - new connections across our region to enable growth 
  • £5.2m - replacement of critical rising mains to prevent flooding and pollution. 

  

Hampshire 

  • 2020-24 spending = £251m 
  • 2024-25 planned spending = £179m 
  • Total planned spending for AMP7 = £430m 

Highlighted individual schemes: 

WATER  

  • £105m – Improved the resilience of our major water supply works and networks, for example upgrading treatment processes to ensure water quality and installing back up power generators to reduce the risk of interruptions. Future proofing them to better withstand extreme weather events such as flooding and drought.  
  • £1.5m – Extended the network to serve new development, allowing for regional growth.  
  • £7.5m – Increased the treatment capability at our sites to address deteriorating quality of some of our sources so we can continue to meet demand, even during periods of dry weather, with the highest quality drinking water.  
  • £11m – Improved our river abstraction assets to limit our impact on local ecosystems and wildlife.  
  • £97m – Invested in our Water for Life Hampshire programme, testing our innovative water recycling solution, undertaking the planning, design and environmental, archaeological and geological surveys for new water transfer pipelines. We’ve also partnered with Portsmouth Water to break ground on the construction of a new reservoir for Hampshire at Havant Thicket.  

WASTEWATER  

  • £4.8m – Upgraded our bioresources facilities to improve quality of our biosolids product and maximise resources recovery from our solids waste.    
  • £65.5m – Improved our wastewater treatment processes to improve the quality of final effluent discharge at 22 sites.  
  • £8m – Extended the network to serve new development, allowing for regional growth.  
  • £12m – Installed new rising mains and sewers, replacing ageing infrastructure, and protecting homes, businesses and the environment from sewer bursts and potential pollution.  
  • £1.2m – Improving our pumping stations, again to prevent failure and any sewer flooding in our local communities.   
  • £17.5m – Increased storm water storage at 10 sites, reducing our use of storm overflows during heavy rainfall, these sites are Woolston, Millbrook, Budds Farm, Portswood, Slowhill Copse, Ashlett Creek, Tangmere, Petersfield and New Alresford, Overton, Ensign Park Hamble, Wickham and Overton 
  • £68m – Improved the disinfection process at two key sites, and stormwater storage at five sites to reduce spills into Southampton Water, preventing deterioration of the shellfish beds.  
  • £10.5m – Prevented spills during dry weather by increasing treatment capacity at 16 sites. 

 

IOW 

  • 2020-24 spending = £5.6m 
  • 2024-25 planned spending = £15.9m 
  • Total planned spending for AMP7 = £21.5m 

Highlighted individual schemes: 

WATER  

  • £750K – Updated our sites and networks so that they run more smoothly, limiting interruptions to your water supply.  
  • £3m – Improved the resilience of our sites and networks, for example upgrading equipment and installing back up power generators. Future proofing them to better withstand extreme weather events such as flooding and drought.  
  • £5K – Increased the treatment capability at our sites to address deteriorating quality of some of our sources so we can continue to meet demand, even during periods of dry weather, with the highest quality drinking water.  
  • We’ve also completed planning, surveys and designs for a new service reservoir to replace Cooks Castle and a new water storage system at Sandown, increasing the resilience of supplies on the Island.   

WASTEWATER  

  • £9m – Improved our wastewater treatment processes to improve the quality of final effluent discharge at 3 sites.  
  • £175k – Extended the network to serve new development, allowing for regional growth, particularly in the Sandown area.  
  • £7.5m – Prevented spills during dry weather by increasing treatment capacity at 4 sites, including a new storage tank at Sandown. 

 

Kent 

  • 2020-24 spending = £276m 
  • 2024-25 planned spending = £151m 
  • Total planned spending for AMP7 = £427m 

Highlighted individual schemes: 

WATER 

  • £7.5m – Updated our sites and networks so that they run more smoothly, limiting interruptions to your water supply. 
  • £1.5m – Extended the network to serve new development, allowing for regional growth. 
  • £38m – Improved the resilience of our major water supply works and networks, for example upgrading treatment processes to ensure water quality and installing back up power generators to reduce the risk of interruptions. Future proofing them to better withstand extreme weather events such as flooding and drought. 
  • £39m – Increased the treatment capability at our sites to address deteriorating quality of some of our sources so we can continue to meet demand, even during periods of dry weather, with the highest quality drinking water. 
  • £10m – Improved our process of taking water from the environment, limiting our impact on local ecosystems and wildlife. 
  • £4m – Invested in new water sources to protect supplies in the future. These include developing a water recycling scheme. 

WASTEWATER 

  • £4m – Upgraded our Bioresources facilities to improve quality of our Biosolids product and maximise resources recovery from our solids waste.   
  • £58m – Improved our wastewater treatment processes to improve the quality of final effluent discharge at 25 sites. 
  • £6m – Extended the network to serve new development, allowing for regional growth, particularly in the Ashford area. 
  • £13m – Installed new rising mains and sewers, replacing ageing infrastructure in Margate and Ramsgate, protecting homes, businesses and the environment from sewer bursts and potential pollution. 
  • £8m – Improving our pumping stations, particularly at Margate and Broadstairs, to prevent failure and any sewer flooding in our local communities.  
  • £30m – Increased storm water storage at 16 sites, reducing our use of storm overflows during heavy rainfall. 
  • £9.5m – Prevented spills during dry weather by increasing treatment capacity at 13 sites. 

 

Sussex 

  • 2020-24 spending = £333m 
  • 2024-25 planned spending = £137m 
  • Total planned spending for AMP7 = £470m 

Highlighted individual schemes: 

WATER  

  • £3m – Updated our sites and networks so that they run more smoothly, limiting interruptions to your water supply.  
  • £450K – Extended the network to serve new development, allowing for regional growth.  
  • £32m – Improved the resilience of our major water supply works and networks, for example upgrading treatment processes to ensure water quality and installing back up power generators to reduce the risk of interruptions. Future proofing them to better withstand extreme weather events such as flooding and drought.  
  • £10m – Increased the treatment capability at our sites to address deteriorating quality of some of our sources so we can continue to meet demand, even during periods of dry weather, with the highest quality drinking water. This includes completing the planning design and part construction of a nitrate mitigation scheme to transform three existing water supply works into a single new works capable of treating water for more effective nitrate removal.  
  • £9m – Improved our process of taking water from the environment, limiting our impact on local ecosystems and wildlife.  
  • £5m – Invested in new water sources to protect supplies in the future. These include developing a new water recycling scheme.  

WASTEWATER  

  • £22m – Upgraded our Bioresources facilities to improve quality of our Biosolids product and maximise resources recovery from our solids waste.    
  • £157m – Improved our wastewater treatment processes to improve the quality of final effluent discharge at 37 sites.  
  • £18m – Extended the network to serve new development, allowing for regional growth, particularly in the Bexhill and Hastings area.  
  • £23m – Installed new rising mains and sewers, replacing ageing infrastructure in Hastings and Brighton, protecting homes, businesses and the environment from sewer bursts and potential pollution.  
  • £2m – Improving our pumping stations, particularly at Margate and Broadstairs, to prevent failure and any sewer flooding in our local communities.   
  • £14m – Increased storm water storage at 27 sites, reducing our use of storm overflows during heavy rainfall.  
  • £16m – Prevented spills during dry weather by increasing treatment capacity at 28 sites. 

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