Options and Issues
The WRSE partners take a number of factors into consideration when forecasting what might be the demand for water in the long-term future. Some are based on what we do already, others are more innovative and need more work to see if they are feasible. They are:
- Transfers – The process by which we move water from one area to another. There are currently over 50 transfers across the south east England; and more are always under consideration.
- New sources – We don’t anticipate finding an untapped source of water, but we can build reservoirs, drill new boreholes, build desalination plants and treat effluent for re-use. At the last count, we identified more than 300 sources of water in the south east and are always looking for more.
- Water trading – When one area has plentiful water supplies and a neighbouring one is short, it makes sense for them to be able to trade and transfer supplies. We are always exploring the feasibility of such innovative, but legally complex, proposals and how it might work in practice. The key will be ensuring that one company’s customers do not benefit at the expense of another’s.
- Water efficiency – A crucial part of managing future demand is encouraging our customers to use water wisely. This covers a range of measures, from education campaigns in schools to fitting water-saving devices in social housing. We are also distributing free shower timers and other devices to our customers. Check our websites for more information and free offers.
- Metering – Water meters reduce demand because customers tend to be more careful about how much water they use, and they are more likely to purchase water efficient devices and goods. All new properties are fitted with water meters. Some companies are running large-scale metering programmes. Many customers save money by switching to a meter.
- Leakage reduction – This covers a range of measures including renewing water mains, pressure management, district metering and employing leakage detection teams.
- Sustainability reductions – These are legislative requirements to take less water from the environment where potential damage is occurring due to the abstraction of water. Balancing these reductions with growing demand is a challenge, but one that must be met by water companies when planning future water supplies.