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Report on the Southern Water and Portsmouth Water stakeholder meeting July 2019

The River Itchen Challenge - www.southernwater.co.uk/itchenchallenge The River Itchen Challenge - www.southernwater.co.uk/itchenchallenge

Report on the Southern Water and Portsmouth Water stakeholder meeting July 2019 from Moya Grove, leader of the Water focus group.

For the first time Portsmouth and Southern Water (SW) co-hosted the stakeholder meeting. Portsmouth Water (PW) is in the enviable position not shared by many water companies in the South East, of having a surplus of water. Bob Taylor, CEO of PW, advised us that they have come to an agreement with Southern that, when the Havant Thicket reservoir is completed they will allow water they currently take from the Itchen to go to SW. Because they were in surplus they have not been allowed to apply for permission for the reservoir until now nor have they had to meter their customers. Water is therefore very cheap in Portsmouth, £100 per annum.

SOUTHERN WATER (SW) APOLOGISES – Is working on supply and water use reduction but needs your help to reduce water shortages

The CEO of Southern Water Ian McAulay started the July stakeholders’ meeting with an apology for his company’s recently publicised behaviour in falsifying reports from waste water processing plants about the pollutants in their effluent. He said “we are deeply sorry for past wastewater failings from 2010-17. We are fully committed to continuing to improve and deliver the standards our customers deserve. We have worked with Ofwat on a package ... to include a bill rebate over five years of £123M and a £3M fine; customers will not bear any of the costs.” This is still sub judice which prevented his answering some of the questions from the floor.

Water shortage and you – Still bad news for the rivers.

CPRE Hampshire has been following SW’s water resource management plan for several years now and we are still gravely worried. The Western area ( mainly Test Valley) is still profoundly short of water. The planned bulk supplies; for instance those from Wessex Water, or the desalination plant planned at Fawley, are not ready. As a result of this and the very dry weather last winter (76% rain) and spring (April 46%) and July (4%,) there will be abstraction this year from the Rivers Test, Itchen and Candover despite the fact that they are flowing below the level ( called the hands off level) which should stop abstraction. The drought trigger on the Test was reached on June 27 2019 and within 60 days of this a drought permit will be applied for, unless we have biblical amounts of rain before then.

Although SW has kept the section 20 agreements agreed at the Public Inquiry in Spring 2018, and the base line environmental studies and monitoring are all under way, these stressed rivers will be used for our water supply. It will take 10 years to overcome the restrictions on abstraction on the iconic chalk streams and this will be partially done by trading water with other companies.

So what can we do? Use less! There will be Temporary Use Bans ( TUBS = hosepipe bans). But in the future the aim is reduce our personal use from 144 litres per person per day to 100 and to 120 by 2025 Your bill shows how much you use.

Nick Price, SW Water Resources Planning Manager gave some pointers to help us achieve the resilience needed. He predicts a population increase in SW’s supply area of 55% by 2080. CPREH has always supported enhancing the links between planning and water. This is essential. Remember this when you respond to an application.

One of the more interesting ways they are planning to influence your water use is by the introduction of water labelling, like the energy labels currently on electrical appliances. This would stimulate the manufacturers to address the water used by their appliances and influence your choices. There is also a plan to reward consumers for reducing water use. This may be through the greenredeem scheme. https://www.greenredeem.co.uk/earn-points

Rachel Dixon of PW outlined the support currently available to vulnerable consumers of both companies via several different financial schemes. https://www.southernwater.co.uk/latest-news/essential-savings-for-southern-waters-most-vulnerable-customers.

There remains lots we can do. And it matters. It’s the subject of many Water Focus group reports.

30% of the high quality drinking water in this country goes down the Loo.

- Flush less often, put a bag in the cistern. Check if water is dribbling from the cistern into the pan all the time – report it to SW. This is a leak and should be fixed! Report every leak, anywhere, immediately. https://www.southwestwater.co.uk/report-a-leak/

- Shower more quickly; SW can supply free a gismo to aerate the water leaving your shower. Same satisfaction – less water!

- Water is precious and becoming more so – be aware, turn the tap off, use half a bowl not a full one.

- And, to make it cheaper and easier to put our cleaned waste water back into the rivers, you could put all your used wipes in the bin and waste fat in a gunk pot. No more expensive fat bergs! https://www.latestfreestuff.co.uk/free-household-stuff/free-gunk-pot/

“No-one is too small to make a difference” Greta Thunberg.

 

Moya Grove
19 July 2019

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