Our customers have asked us to be more innovative to secure a resilient water supply for the future.
They told us they wanted to see fewer water restrictions and that extreme measures such as rota cuts or standpipes, where water is limited to a few hours a day or taps in the street, are not acceptable in the 21st century.
So we adopted a new way of planning, which we believe will guarantee the resilient water supply our customers want.
In the past, water companies have drawn up plans based on droughts which have already happened.
We think it is more sensible to plan for a wider range of droughts, which although we have not seen them yet, are just as likely to happen as droughts in the past.
These could have a greater impact on water resources, so in this plan we have looked at more than 2,000 different types of weather patterns, rather than just the last 100 years used in conventional planning.
To help us build a more resilient water network, which can continue to supply water in more extreme droughts, we want to develop more reliable water sources.
Water sources which can provide a continuous and reliable source of water, even during prolonged droughts, include water re-use and desalination.
|Water re-use involves recycling treated wastewater into rivers upstream of a water supply works so the water can be taken out and treated in the works to our usual high quality water drinking water standards. Currently this water just runs out to sea.|
|Desalination involves treating sea water to drinking water standards.|
If we experience a very severe drought, schemes such as water re-use and desalination would maintain a more robust water supply for customers, businesses and agriculture.
How water sources perform during droughts
Our plan for the next 25 years includes a number of water re-use and desalination options. We have included a water re-use scheme in Medway, Kent, to supply water by 2022 and a water re-use scheme in West Sussex to secure supplies by 2026.
In Hampshire, we are proposing to build a desalination plant on the coast at Marchwood Industrial Park by 2028 to secure more reliable supplies for Hampshire and to support the transfer of water to the Isle of Wight through the Cross Solent Main.