The findings of the Public Accounts Committee are a significant moment in the national debate about water resources and a clarion call to action.
We face serious water challenges in the years to come but we’re already taking bold steps to cut people’s water use and reduce leakage in the south east – already a designated water-stressed region.
Climate change and population growth were described by Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan as the ‘jaws of death’ – and it is our beautiful region where those jaws could close.
We’ve also pioneered our Target 100 campaign to people reduce water use in our region and we’ve lobbied the government on water labelling to ensure water efficiency is prioritised in the same way as energy efficiency. We also pioneered metering of water which had a dramatic impact on per capita consumption. By the end of the month we hope to have restarted our water efficiency home visits – helping customers to protect the environment and cut their bills.
We already work closely with developers – asking them to ‘bake in’ water efficiency and sustainable drainage to new housing developments. Any action that adds to our encouragement is welcome.
We agree that we cannot ask customers and developers to reduce their water use without playing our part – in particular reducing leakage from our network.
Our unwavering commitment to continual improvement will put us on a strong footing to reduce leakage by 15% by 2025 and 40% by 2040.
Just last month we announced the world’s first mass roll-out of 700 new Internet of Things leakage devices in Southampton. This on top of a £3.2m investment last year to increase our leakage teams.
It is especially welcome to see the issue of water-labelling highlighted by the Committee. Keeping people informed about how the choices they make will affect the environment and security of supply is clearly the right thing to do.
Ian McAulay, Chief Executive