Consultation: Climate Change Adaptation Report 2021

We have drafted our third Climate Change Adaptation Report, which sets out how we’re preparing for the impact of climate change. We invite you to share your views on the draft document as part of our public consultation.

The consultation is open from Tuesday 9 November 2021 to midnight on Friday 19 November 2021. Your feedback will help us evaluate our report and identify any areas we need to develop further.

What’s Climate Adaptation reporting?

Under the Climate Change Act 2008, organisations with functions of a public nature or statutory undertakers can be instructed to report on how they are addressing current and future climate impacts. The third round of Climate Adaptation reporting is now underway.

As a provider of essential public services, we will be publishing a report to update the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) about the risks Southern Water faces from climate change now and in the future, along with what we are doing to prepare.

Read our draft report

Our draft Climate Change Adaptation Report 2021 is the third round of Climate Adaptation reporting we’ve made in consultation with our customers and stakeholders. Our last report was published in 2015.

Our draft 2021 report includes the findings of our updated risk assessment on the impacts of climate change, as well as an outline of our strategy and progress in adapting to mitigate increasing risk. The specific tables requested by Defra can be found in Appendix 1.

Southern Water’s Draft Climate Change Adaptation Report 2021

Why’s climate change important to Southern Water?

In the South East, the water sector is already experiencing the negative impacts of a changing climate, which threaten our ability to carry out our essential services. The impacts include:

  • increased temperature and more extreme variations in temperature
  • less rainfall or longer dry periods (drought)
  • more rainfall, or more intense rainfall (including an increasing number of extreme storms and lightning strikes)
  • sea level rise.

We expect these impacts to increase in severity and frequency over the coming years. As the population of our region continues to grow, the challenge does too. Mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change will ensure we can maintain high-quality, resilient services for our customers today and in the future.

Taking action in response to climate change

Climate change resilience and sustainability are central themes within our current five-year business plan and our long-term strategy to 2040 and beyond. We’ve already put in place a series of plans looking at the long-term impacts of climate change, and how we need to adapt as a business, including:

  • Resilience Action Plan
  • Water Resource Management Plan
  • Drought Plan
  • Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans

We’ve also responded to the climate emergency by committing to reach net zero carbon by 2030 for the emissions associated with operating our services.

Our draft Climate Change Adaptation Report 2021 has considered information and modelling gathered for the above plans and updated the overall risk level.

We’ve made considerable progress since the publication of our last Adaptation Report in 2015. However, we recognise there is a gap between where we are and where we need to be. The comprehensive work carried out to produce this report has highlighted what we must do to improve our resilience and preparedness.

We will be investing £2 billion in the next four years to improve the resilience of our existing network, improving compliance, capacity and efficiency, while delivering nature-based solutions and environmental net gain. Our strategy aligns with Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan. 

Led by our new Director of Environment and Corporate Affairs, Dr Toby Willison (who joined us from the Environment Agency), this framework will take Southern Water a step further towards achieving its vision of a resilient water future.

Have your say

We welcome feedback from customers and stakeholders on our draft Climate Change Adaptation Report 2021. Once you’ve had a look at the document, please feel free to send us your feedback using the form below. We’ll take your comments into account as we finalise our report. The deadline for responses is midnight Friday 19 November 2021.  

Please note: If you complete the feedback form, your response will be sent directly to Southern Water. Please note, Southern Water will only use your personal data for the purposes of aggregating the results of the survey and for contacting you to provide feedback where you have requested this. Please do not put any personally identifiable information in any of the free text boxes. For full details of how Southern Water uses personal information generally, please see our privacy notice.

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