Balancing supply and demand while protecting river habitats

Sam Underwood
Senior Stakeholder Manager, Water for Life – Hampshire

What was the challenge?

In the face of a growing population and changing climate, we’re always planning ahead to make sure that our customers have access to reliable and cost-effective water and wastewater services for the future. Balancing supply and demand while protecting river habitats is a key focus for us in Hampshire, which is home to some of the finest chalk streams in the world. We’re investing millions over the next 10 years to make up supply deficits in the area, looking at water recycling, new pipelines from neighbouring water companies, reducing leakage and improving water efficiency.

What did we do about it?

Led by Southern Water, the Water for Life – Hampshire programme was developed to help keep Hampshire’s taps and rivers flowing, especially during a drought. Working together with key stakeholders including the Environment Agency, Portsmouth Water, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the Wessex Rivers Trust, the programme will cost hundreds of millions of pounds and it aims to:

  • improve the way we abstract, treat and supply water across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
  • protect the rare chalk streams of the Test and Itchen rivers by reducing the amount of water we take out and caring for the biodiverse nature in and around them
  • save water by improving leakage and encouraging customers to reduce their usage
  • use new water sources, such as the construction of the Havant Thicket reservoir.

What are the benefits for our customers?

Customers will benefit from a wholesome supply of clean drinking water with a lower risk of loss of supply or restrictions during a drought. Our activities aim to create wildlife habitats, so the improved biodiversity and resilience of the natural environment will be there for our customers to enjoy long into the future.

Water for Life – Hampshire is part of our response to the twin pressures of climate change and a growing population. The programme will protect the sensitive Test and Itchen chalk streams and the wildlife that live there – creating a resilient and sustainable supply of water for our customers while protecting the natural world long into the future.

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