Water companies such as Southern Water play a crucial role in protecting, maintaining and improving the environment, but climate change and an increasing population all contribute to greater pressures on vital water and wastewater services.
That is why Southern Water is taking an innovative and ambitious approach to tackling these issues.
Southern Water has already made great progress in helping our customers reduce the amount of water they use, which means we take less water from the environment.
We’ve done this through an industry-first universal metering programme, which has led to a 10 per cent fall in consumption. As a result, our customers in Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are among the most water efficient in the country, but there’s always more to do.
We’re continuing to support our customers reduce the amount of water they use even further and helping them save money in the process through an ambitious project called Target 100, which aims to help customers reduce daily usage to 100 litres a person by 2040, from a current average of 130 litres a person per day.
To achieve this we’re working closely with planning authorities and house builders, embedding water sustainability into new homes and retrofitting properties with water-efficient products as well as working on behaviour change awareness campaigns across our region.
Of course, we need to make sure water services are resilient, which is why we’ve commissioned a report that takes a detailed look at the future of water in the South East.
This research delves into emerging trends, disruptive technologies, cultural attitudes and large-scale challenges such as climate change to help the company develop flexible strategies to meet these challenges.
Partnership is one of the most effective ways to ensure resilience and accelerate innovation. By working with councils and developers or joining forces with farmers, landowners and environmental organisations, Southern Water can better manage, safeguard and enhance the water environment.
Southern Water believes there has never been a more pressing time to start talking about water
We are leading an integrated water resources plan for the whole of the South East, working alongside all those who abstract water from the environment and have a role in ensuring water is not wasted.
To not only protect, but also enhance the environment, new technologies must be used in smarter, more streamlined ways.
For example, Southern Water is trialling new equipment which will allow us to extract more energy from water and wastewater treatment processes and operations.
This will help the company reduce the amount of energy it takes from the grid, creating the potential for our sites to become self-sufficient or even become new sources of energy supply to the wider energy network.
One of the greatest achievements of the 20th century was building reliable water and wastewater systems. Since then water companies across the country have been working 24/7 to maintain this vital infrastructure.
Yet people tend to be disconnected from the water cycle. We are used to the simple act of turning on a tap or flushing a toilet without having to think too much about how it flows smoothly through networks, is cleaned and returned safely to the environment, and treated to high-quality drinking standards.
In the South East, we enjoy a beautiful natural water environment with a high number of Blue Flag beaches and world-renowned chalk rivers. However, that environment is delicate and we also face real and growing water scarcity.
That is why Southern Water believes there has never been a more pressing time to start talking about water.
As the guardians of the most precious resource in the world, it is time to speak out about these challenges and, crucially, how we plan to tackle them both now and in the future.
To find out more about how Southern Water is planning for the future please visit www.southernwater.co.uk/water-for-the-future