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Final call to have your say on the future of water supply in the South East of England

14 March 2023

  • Thames Water is encouraging customers, businesses and communities to have their say on our future of water supply
  • Water is essential for life but our water resources are under pressure and this will only increase with time
  • The consultation shares information on predicted future water supply shortages and the choices that need to be made now to provide a resilient water supply for future generations
  • Since the consultation launched on the 13 December 2022, the company has hosted 10 community information, pop-up and online events, informing and listening to more than 1,500 individuals
  • The public consultation is open for one more week and ends on Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Thames Water is encouraging its customers, communities and stakeholders to have their say on its proposed strategic plan for future water supply. The draft Water Resources Management Plan 2024 sets out the actions and investment needed for the next 50 years, and the consultation remains open to the public until 21 March 2023.

The South East is a water stressed region and its critical to act now in order to provide a secure and sustainable water supply to manage a growing population, changing climate and increasing drought risk, as well as protecting the environment now and in the future.

The climate emergency has already presented challenges for the region, following last summer's drought, extreme heat and lack of water. The company forecasts that it will need an extra 1 billion litres of water every day for customers by 2075 to accommodate climate change and population growth.

The number of people living and working in London and the Thames Valley is set to increase and along with it the demand for water. Every day, Thames Water currently supplies around 2.6 billion litres of water to customers across London and the Thames Valley. This is enough to fill 1,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.

The draft plan, which proposes investment of up to £13 billion between 2025 and 2050, sets out a range of strategic options to build new water sources across the South East. The proposals include a new reservoir near Abingdon, which would supply water to customers, and create a recreational space for the local community as well as a number of other strategic resource options.

Across the region more than 1,400 options were considered to address the shortfall between the amount of water in the region and the amount of water needed. Each option was assessed on water output, impact on the environment, carbon budget, delivery timeline and ability to build in future resilience.

Thames Water has developed its plan by working collaboratively with Water Resources South East (WRSE) and neighbouring water companies to coordinate a regional response. This collaborative approach has allowed Thames Water to look beyond its boundary and play its part in supporting the regional plan in order to deliver the most benefit across the South East for the long term.

Nevil Muncaster, Strategic Resources Director at Thames Water, said: “We believe that water belongs to everyone and are committed to safeguarding its future. We’re working hard to build resilience and our plan sets out how we intend to meet the challenges ahead including a growing population and more extreme weather conditions, such as drought.

“Finding and fixing leaks is fundamental to our plan and we’re working hard to upgrade our Victorian pipes to meet 21st century demands. We also have to plan for future generations, investing-in and building new infrastructure to support our region. The strategy sets out several proposed options includes a new reservoir near Abingdon and a river abstraction scheme in Teddington.

“Listening to our customers and communities is critical to the success of our strategy, which is why we’ve welcomed thousands of people to our online and in-person events since the consultation launched in December. There’s still time for the public to have their say and to share their valuable views with us and I encourage everyone to take part.”

Over the past three-months, Thames Water has held events across the region including community information events in Cirencester, Abingdon, Richmond, Twickenham and Steventon as well as pop-ups in Reading, Swindon, Oxford and Paddington.

With one week remaining, Thames Water is encouraging customers, community groups, businesses, academics, charities and other organisations to feedback on the draft Water Resources Management Plan. The consultation asks for feedback on the big decisions on the regional water challenges, including planning and building new water resources infrastructure that could take many years before they’re ready to provide water.

Consultation feedback received will be carefully considered by the company. In June 2023, it will be sent to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as part of Thames Water’s submission to the Government for approval of the draft Water Resources Management Plan 2024.

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