Our five-year programme to install nearly 450,000 meters across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight concluded in late 2015.
The unique programme - we were the first UK water company to introduce widescale metering - was described as bold when it launched in 2010. But metering has led to:
An exhaustive four-year study at Southampton University corroborated savings in water usage of 16.5 per cent since having a meter installed, against a national average of 10 per cent.
Savings are brought about by the adoption of water efficiency measures. This might be something as simple as turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, using a water butt instead of a hosepipe or not switching on the dishwasher until it has a full load.
With nearly 90 per cent of all households now metered, our customers must be amongst the most water efficient in the country.
You might be wondering why we want our customers to save water; after all we'll be charging you for the amount you use.
The truth is that the South of England is one of the driest areas in the UK. It has been classed as an ‘Area of Serious Water Stress’ by Defra, the Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Climate change is likely to see temperatures rise between 2℃ and 3.5℃ by 2080 with rainfall in the South East of England dropping by up to half. Droughts like we saw in 2004–06 are likely to be more common.
And as the population of the South East continues to rise, the amount of water we need to supply will increase even further, placing more pressure on local rivers and the already stressed natural environment.
The metering programme is an important part of our plans to supply water in the long term
We’re also reducing leakage, working with businesses to reduce their water waste and increasing our range of services to help customers conserve water at home.
We’re also developing new resources and have looked carefully at other options, such as building more reservoirs.
The installation of meters will reduce the amount of water people use to the extent that it would take until 2035 to return to today’s levels of water use, even allowing for growth in the region and its additional demand on resources.