Managing our water sources and supply
One of our core functions is to ensure that sufficient, resilient water supplies are available now and over the long term for our customers.
Our customers expect water to be there when they need it, and it’s important to them that they can trust a clean, healthy supply of water that will always be there when they turn on the tap.
Water management is the whole end to end process. That means ensuring abstraction is sustainable, investing in our network and maintaining it, managing our own water use and enabling and encouraging customers to manage theirs.
Water resource management plans
Our statutory Water Resource Management Plans detail how we will manage supply and demand to adapt to the impact of climate change and meet our environmental obligations over the next 25 years, in both Severn Trent and Hafren Dyfrdwy.
We produce and publish a Water Resource Management Plan every five years, and conduct an annual review. We published our latest Water Resources Management Plan in August 2019.
Our Water Resource Management Plan consists of several elements.
Firstly, we make a 25 year demand forecast. This describes how much water we think our customers will need in the future, considering factors such as climate change and population.
We then make a 25 year supply forecast. This illustrates how much water is available for use now, and how this may change in the future. We consider the impact of climate change and potential reductions in the volume of water we can take from rivers and groundwater.
Assessing the options
We also include an assessment of our options to balance supply and demand, including leakage reduction and sustainable abstraction.
We balance supply and demand for the best possible outcome for the environment and customers.
Climate projection modelling
Our long term water management strategy
Our long term strategy consists of two main elements.
Our Water Resource Management Plan and our Price Review 2019 investment plan include 22 supply scheme options which involve making better use of existing sustainable sources of supply and enhancing our ability to deploy the water.
These are needed to meet the environmental challenges in reducing unsustainable abstraction and mitigating future environmental deterioration. We have 9 options for development and deployment in Asset Management Period 7, which covers the five years from 2020 to 2025.
We worked with a wide range of stakeholders throughout the production of the Water Resource Management Plan.
Through stakeholder forums, formal consultations, customer engagement workshops and one-to-one meetings, feedback from stakeholders have helped to shape our view of options for our plan.
Clear messages that we addressed in our final plan include; more ambitious leakage targets and demand management thinking and continue to deliver on our environmental commitments.
Regional water planning and water trading
We have a wider responsibility to ensure that future resources are planned and delivered most efficiently within our wider region and within England.
We have played an active role in helping to meet these objectives by collaborating with other water companies to develop water trades. We’ve worked with Thames Water and United Utilities on the Severn to Thames Transfer and with Affinity Water on the Grand Union Canal transfer scheme.
We are also actively developing regional multisector water resource planning within England. We’ve partnered with stakeholders from across the region and have become core members of the Water Resources West and Water Resources East.
Restoring sustainable abstraction
Some of our existing water abstractions may be having a detrimental effect on the environment, particularly during dry weather periods when river flows are low.
Throughout 2015 to 2020, we investigated the impact of abstractions that the Environment Agency identified as possibly harmful to the environment.
We’re gathering evidence of any damage to find out whether our activities are the main cause or just a contributor to any problem.
Where investigations conclude our activities are having an adverse impact, our Water Resource Management Plan includes the solutions we have agreed with Environment Agency to remove or mitigate these effects.
These solutions are either local or strategic. Local solutions can include changes to our compensation flows at surface water sites, or environmental improvement measures such as river habitat restoration.
Strategic, new supply-side solutions allow us to reduce abstraction from a number of our unsustainable groundwater sources.
How we’ll reduce unsustainable abstraction
Where we need to reduce unsustainable abstraction, we’ve agreed with the Environment Agency that we’ll make changes by the end of 2025.
However, in some cases changes will not take effect immediately. This allows us time to make changes to our network and make sure customers’ supply is not affected.
To mitigate the effects of ongoing abstraction, we’ll implement local schemes to improve habitats around the watercourses we pump from, between 2020 and 2025.
If a low flow investigation identifies changes needed to abstraction in a Site of Special Scientific Interest, we will prioritise that work and complete it by 2025.
All licence reductions and our required interventions will be completed by 2030.
Tackling leakage is one of our top priorities. We’re already driving down our leakage figures and we’ve committed to reduce leakage by 15% by 2025.
We’ll prioritise leakage in the areas of greatest demand in Asset Management Period 7 - from 2020 to 2025 – and expand this to all areas from Asset Management Period 8 and beyond.
Our goal is to reduce leakage by 50% by 2045. We plan to achieve this through developing and deploying leakage detection and prevention technology, improving measurement and data capture, and innovation.
We have an ambitious water efficiency programme that has saved around 25 million litres per day (Ml/d) of water between 2015 and 2020 through water efficiency advice for customers, free and subsidised water-saving products on request, and targeted home water efficiency checks.
|Water management data||2020/21|| 2019/20
|Leakage (megalitres per day)||414.6||401||419.5||443|