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Our response: a draft regional plan

Many thanks to everyone who gave us feedback on our emerging regional plan.

The consultation on the plan is now closed, but you can find out more about it at Home | WRSE - Water Resource South East.

The ultimate aim of our plan is simple: to provide an affordable, resilient and sustainable water supply that delivers for the public, industry and the natural environment for years to come.

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A resilient water supply calls for a multi-sector collaborative approach

More obvious ways to better manage the region’s water resources include reducing leaks and encouraging more efficient water use. But given the scale of the challenges we face, securing that future supply of water requires a more collaborative response between the region’s water companies and other national players. Our draft regional plan is designed to take into account the needs of all water users – ranging from the public and water-intensive industries such as agriculture and energy – as well as the natural environment too.

How we’re developing a draft regional plan

1. Understanding where we are today

First up, we’re working to identify all the risks to the region’s water resources. This includes a technical assessment of them to determine the level of resilience we’ll need to plan for in the future. It also means making best use of what water is already here – from plugging more leaks to promoting more efficient usage and managing water catchments. We’ll also review the existing infrastructure across the region to see if it’s fit for purpose and what new infrastructure might be needed. Then we’ll get feedback on our initial findings from the public, businesses, official bodies and water-intensive industries.


2. Taking the bigger picture into account

An effective plan has to take into account the demands of all water users, including customers, businesses and sector-specific industries. So, over the next few years we’ll be working with them all - and especially those water-intensive industries - so they can inform and influence our plan and those of their local water companies. Take agriculture for example: some businesses such as soft fruit growers understand and can forecast their future water needs clearly. Others, such as livestock farmers, are unable to articulate their future water needs as well - so we’ll be working to help them with that. And given that greater resilience in water - whether it’s a drought or flood - is also a national priority, our work will feed into the national policy debate too.



3. Finalising and putting a draft regional plan into action

Our work and consultations will enable us to come up with a sustainable draft regional plan. This plan will inform the Water Resource Management Plans of each member water company within the WRSE alliance. It will set out the schemes, investments and other actions which companies and other stakeholders will need to take to deliver our shared objective. It will also link with the other regional plans across England to form the national picture for water – offering a more co-ordinated regional response to events like droughts and flooding. From this point, we can start to address what solutions might be required such as managing water catchments in a different way, utilising new technology to reduce leakage further, building new reservoirs and water transfers, or more efficient irrigation by greater use of recycled water. The plan will include those solutions we feel deliver water at best value – that is, where there are wider benefits to customers, society and the environment.


Timeline of delivery


Produce our initial Future Water Resource Requirements Position Statement for the South East region


Consult on the Resilience Framework that will be used to develop the Draft Regional Plan


Consult on the Method Statements that set out the methodology we will use to develop our Draft Regional Plan


Consult on the proposed regional policies that will form the crux of our Draft Regional Plan


Consult on the objectives, criteria and metrics that we intend to use to help us identify the ‘Best Value’ Draft Regional Plan


Update our Future Water Resource Requirements Position Statement


Publish our updated Method Statements and the decision making framework we will use to identify the ‘Best Value’ Draft Regional Plan


All five regional groups across England will reconcile their draft regional plans to ensure there is national alignment


Publish our Emerging Regional Plan for public consultation


Produce a summary of response to our consultation on our draft Emerging Regional Plan and how we’ll address them


Publish a revised Draft Regional Plan. Water companies will also submit their individual draft Water Resource Management Plans to Defra ahead of public consultation


Each individual water company in the region will publish their Statement of Response to their draft Water Resource Management Plan consultation and a revised draft Water Resources Management Plan


WRSE will publish its final Draft Regional Plan and companies will publish their final Water Resources Management Plans


To get updates on what WRSE are doing to secure water for the future, submit your preferences and provide us your email address…





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