It is forecast that we will need an additional 1 billion litres of water every day, enough to fill approximately 400 Olympic sized swimming pools, for our customers by 2075.
This is a huge challenge that we’re taking very seriously.
With Water Resources South East, we’ve prepared nine possible pathways that enable us to adapt to varying population levels, climate change impacts and levels of protection for the environment. The reported pathway in our adaptive plan is one of these nine pathways, which is compliant with regulatory guidelines. We forecast that we’ll need an additional 372 Ml/d of water in 2035, 1059 Ml/d in 2050 and over 1000 Ml/d by 2075 to address the future challenges in our reported pathway.View full image
The planning challenge takes account of other factors in addition to the four main challenges. This is why the overall water shortfall is not the same as the sum of the four challenges shown in the diagram.
New water resources
We need to invest in new sources of water and modernise our infrastructure to protect supplies and reduce the risk of us running dry during prolonged periods of drought.
Along with setting targets to halve leakage by 2050 and install a further one million smart water meters in customers’ homes, our revised draft Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP24) includes proposals for new water resources – a new reservoir in Oxfordshire, located to the South West of Abingdon, and a new river abstraction on the River Thames, close to Teddington Weir, supported by water recycling.
- Teddington Direct River Abstraction: We’re holding a public consultation on proposed site options, which you can find out about here, along with details of community information events that we’re planning to hold in November 2023.
- South East Strategic Reservoir Option (SESRO) – a new reservoir for the south east: We’ve published an update, which you can find here, along with details of community information events that we’re planning to hold in November 2023.
- Severn to Thames Transfer: There are lots of uncertainties in planning ahead for the next 50 years. We know we can’t take risks with our water supply, so we’ve proposed we should continue to develop the transfer scheme as a reserve option. This will allow us to act quickly if we need additional water in the future.
Over the past three years, under the umbrella of Water Resources South East (WRSE), we've been working with the five other water companies in the south east as well as customers, stakeholders and other water-using sectors to develop an overarching regional plan addressing our future water challenges. This collaborative approach means we can look beyond our individual boundaries and identify what will deliver the most benefit across the south east for the long term. You can find out more about WRSE and the regional plan here.
Autumn 2023 update
Earlier this year we held a public consultation on our draft Water Resources Management Plan 24 (dWRMP24), which set out the actions and investment needed to make sure we’ll have a resilient and sustainable water supply for the next 50 years.
After carefully considering the responses that we received during the public consultation, we published our Statement of Response, which you can find here.
We also published our revised draft WRMP24, which you can find here.
Summary of our revised draft WRMP24View full image
WRMPs are long-term plans that require us to forecast the future. The further ahead we look the more uncertain the future is, and we take this into account by using an adaptive planning approach that considers a wide-range of potential futures. Our revised draft WRMP24 includes a monitoring plan which we will use to track developments and allow us to adapt and change our approach if needed.