AFTER four years of planning and analysis, Southern Water has published Water Resources Management Plan which sets out the enormous challenge the region faces to protect the environment and provide drinking water to their customers.
Updated every five years, the company has previously looked 25 years into the future to assess the risks.
For the first time Southern Water is now looking forward 50 years so the company can be prepared to meet the challenges of a very different world.
“Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan made a speech this spring where he spoke of the ‘jaws of death’ for water- – climate change and population growth,” Nicholas Price, water resource planning manager at Southern Water, said.
“Our analysis shows this is no exaggeration – the jaws of death are closing and when the teeth meet, it is this part of the country that will feel the bite.”
An immediate challenge is faced in Hampshire where less water will be taken from the iconic chalk Test and Itchen river systems, especially when flows drop in summer or following a dry autumn and winter.
“Staying resilient is about behaviour change and looking after the resources we currently have as much as it is about us building new resources”, Mr Price continued.
“We are committing to cutting leakage in half by 2050 and we are asking our customers to use water wisely. Every drop humans take out from the environment means less for nature.”
A ten year £800 million plan will see a raft of new measures including a reservoir to be built in collaboration with Portsmouth Water and in its supply area, pipelines across the region so the company can move water about and a link to Bournemouth Water for a bulk supply.
We are also looking at building desalination plants and recycling water in the future.
Solutions such as desalination and water recycling plants may also be necessary in many other parts of their region.
Mr Price continued: “There is no magic bullet for securing new water supplies – every alternative has its own environmental impacts.
“The most important thing is working together – us, our customers and neighbouring water companies must collaborate to ensure the environment thrives and taps keep flowing.”