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Our response: a revised draft regional plan

Our aim is simple – to secure South East England’s water supplies for the future against a predicted shortfall of up to 2.8 billion litres by 2050, all while helping the environment to thrive and providing wider societal benefits. 

We published our revised draft regional plan for South East England on 31 August 2023, alongside our Statement of Response to the feedback received during our consultation held from 14 November 2022 to 20 February 2023.

To find out more about our revised draft plan, visit our engagement site. 

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A resilient water supply calls for a collaborative approach

Securing future water supplies requires the region’s water companies to work together, alongside regulators, other water users and water companies in other regions.

Our revised draft regional plan considers South East England’s future water needs. This includes the public water supply and water-intensive industries, such as agriculture and energy, as well as the natural environment. 

How we developed a revised draft plan

1. Understanding where we are today and the challenge we face

Firstly, we identified all the factors that could change how much water is available in the future and how much more we’ll need to supply a growing population. We developed a range of long-term forecasts to help us understand what could happen to our water supplies in the years to come. We used this to develop an adaptive plan, which considers a range of different futures.

We also looked at the future water needs of the other main water users in the region and how much they’ll need to produce their products and services in the years to come.


2. Assessing all our options

We identified all the options available to help us secure our water resources. This included options to reduce demand such as tackling leaks and water efficiency; schemes that will provide extra water supplies such as new reservoirs and water recycling; and schemes that work with nature to help make the environment our water comes from more resilient.

We assessed all our options and considered how much they will cost, how much water they will provide, how they will impact on the environment and how resilient they will be to future shocks and stresses. We used our regional investment model to identify a plan that will secure the region’s water supplies at the lowest cost possible, while meeting all the legal and regulatory requirements and policy expectations.


3. Developing a draft best value plan

Investment in our region’s water resources could deliver wider benefits. We identified a set of criteria to assess different plans against to help us develop a best value plan. This included how much natural capital could be created, how biodiversity could be improved, the benefits and disbenefits to the environment, the level of resilience delivered and the cost to future generations. We also considered which options customers preferred.

We compared many different plans and produced a draft best value regional plan for consultation. The consultation closed on 20 February 2023.


4. Our revised draft regional plan

We submitted our revised draft regional plan to Defra on 31 August 2023, alongside our response to the feedback received during our consultation. 

Our revised draft plan presents a regional solution to make our water supplies more resilient and address the projected 2.7 billion litre shortfall in the region’s water resources, due to climate change, population growth and increased protection for the environment.

It contains a mix of options, balancing ambitious reductions to leakage and water consumption with the need to invest in new sources of water. 


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


WRSE will publish a response to the draft regional plan consultation. Each individual water company will publish their Statement of Response to their draft Water Resource Management Plan consultation and publish a revised draft Water Resources Management Plan


WRSE will publish its final 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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