Water Resources in the South East (WRSE) has launched its new, ambitious programme of work to develop a multi-sector, regional resilience plan.
At an event attended by over 60 stakeholders from across the water, environmental, energy, agricultural and local planning sectors, the WRSE team showcased the part it is playing in the shift towards greater regional planning for water resources – and how that will deliver more resilient water supplies to the South East, and wider UK, in the future.
Simon Cocks, independent Chair of WRSE, outlined the new approach being taken, one that moves from developing scenario-based strategies to a regional resilience plan which will ignore water company boundaries and also consider the water needs of other sectors too.
The new approach will mean the South East’s resilience to climatic events is increased, the environment is improved, water is used more efficiently, and best value options are delivered for current and future customers.
But he also left the audience in no doubt about the challenge, as the region needs to find at least an additional 910 million litres per day, and possibly up to 2.6 billion litres a day, over the next 60 years.
Simon Cocks concluded: “This is urgent, serious and complicated – but it is something that we need to get on with.
“I’m absolutely certain we have the technical capability and experience to do this, but this is now about collaborating really effectively to create a multi-sector plan, and in doing so bringing a positive attitude and shifting our level of ambition to serve the overall best interests of people living and working in our region.”
Panel speakers at the event, which was held at WWF’s Living Planet Centre in Woking, also included representatives from Defra, the Environment Agency, RAPID (Regulators’ Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development) the National Farmers Union, energy firm RWE, Blueprint for Water and the Greater London Authority.
Round table sessions were also held with delegates to test two key areas:
- What key areas does the regional resilience plan need to address?
- How do people want to be involved in the development of the regional resilience plan?
The outputs from this first stakeholder event will be collated into a report and shared with attendees and other interested parties, as well as being published at www.wrse.org.uk
Note to news editors:
- The WRSE was originally formed in 1996 following a recommendation from the Monopolies and Mergers Commission which suggested there should be better regional co-operation when it came to sharing water
- The water companies involved in WRSE include Affinity Water, Portsmouth Water, South East Water, SES Water, Southern Water and Thames Water. Together they serve 19 million customers and provide 6 billion litres of water per day
Further information on WRSE’s future ambition can be found here.