Our response to The Storm Overflows Taskforce

Dr Toby Willison, Environment and Corporate Affairs Director for Southern Water, said: “Storm overflows have a vital role to fulfil in protecting homes and businesses from flooding during extreme weather when there is a need to prevent sewers becoming overloaded with a combination of rainwater and sewage.

Southern Water has made significant investment in technology so we can inform the public when storm water is being released from the 1063 outfalls in our region. Our programme is well ahead of the deadline set by Defra of 2023 and can give customers and stakeholders confidence we’re prioritising informing them and protecting the environment

“This monitoring is helping us provide surfers, swimmers and other water users with real-time data on sewage discharges and our Beachbuoy service notifying recreational users is now running 365 days a year. We are working hard to extend coverage to all our designated bathing waters.

“Wastewater infrastructure was not designed to handle heavy rainfall. Development and changes to rainfall patterns due to climate change will take time and significant investment. However, there is more that can be done in partnership with developers and local authorities. Councils across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are already helping us ensure developers plan with sustainable drainage in mind before construction and correctly connect sewers and drains during building projects.

“Ensuring sewers flow freely by disposing of single use plastics such as wet wipes properly is a lesson our customers are taking to heart. We all have a part to play in working together to protect the environment and in common with all other water companies we are committed to doing all we can to help enhance the health of our rivers and bathing waters further in future which is good for our customers, our communities and the environment.”