Southern Water offer free water butts to Havenstreet residents

Southern Water is giving scores of Islanders in Havenstreet leaky butts.

And if the trial is successful then project managers  are convinced this will help Havenstreet’s long running flood problem. That’s because these butts are water butts which harvest rainwater from gutters and are hoped  prevent floods and cut storm releases from combined sewer overflows.

The scheme aims to reduce flooding in Havenstreet by offering each household a free ‘leaky’ water butt.

Each water butt will slow the flow of rainwater entering the sewer, which can become overwhelmed if too much rainwater enters the pipe.

‘Leaky’ water butts have valves positioned halfway up to allow recipients to utilise half of the rainwater captured to wash cars and water gardens, so there’s less need to turn on the tap!

Once data has been collected to determine whether the trial has been successful, we’ll look to roll-out the scheme to more Islanders in Cowes, Fishbourne and Wootton.

Project Manager Laura Moran said: “I love my leaky butt – I’ve still got water for my garden – and plants prefer rain to treated tap water – but the leak valve means householders will never be caught with a full water butt when heavy rain hits. Instead of all the rain hitting drains and sewers at the same time and potentially overwhelming the system, the flow will be slowed.

“Our teams will be visiting each property in Havenstreet from 8th to 19th August. The more people who accept a water butt, the more we can reduce flooding and pollution in the area.

“We are committed to significantly reducing storm overflows which is often caused by excess water in the network. Approximately 40% of wastewater in the sewer is rain run-off from household roofs. We are looking forward to offering free water butts to more Islanders soon.”


Background Info:

Southern Water have set up a Task Force with the aim of significantly reducing the number of storm overflow releases by 2030. Climate change and urban creep are only likely to increase pressure on the sewage system, and that innovative solutions and approaches are needed to create a more resilient system.

The Task Force has launched five pathfinder projects across the South East from Deal, Margate, and Swalecliffe in Kent, to Pan-Parishes Hampshire and Sandown on the Isle of Wight. These will test a range of nature-based solutions such as ponds, wetlands, and rain gardens to reduce the amount of surface water that enters the sewers during a heavy rainfall. Nature-based solutions also reduce carbon emissions as water treatment is a carbon intensive activity and is responsible for 72 per cent of Southern Water’s energy consumption. ​

Between 2020-25 Southern Water is investing over £2 billion across the region driving innovation and partnerships through working with the community. £1.5 billion of this is for investment in improving wastewater services, which is being used to upgrade Southern Water’s ability to process greater volumes of sewage and the capacity to store more storm water.

This free offer forms part of our storm overflow task force Storm Overflow Task Force (