Strategic water resource solutions
With challenges of climate change and population growth, it’s more important than ever that we have a plan to secure our water supplies for the future.
We forecast that we face a shortfall of over 1 billion litres of water every day for our customers in the next 50 years. That's enough to fill around 400 Olympic sized swimming pools.
The main factors that affect how much additional water we’ll need in the future are:
- A growing population
- A changing climate
- The need to provide increased resilience to droughts
- Reductions in the amount of water we take from rivers and groundwater to improve the environment
This is a huge challenge that we’re taking very seriously.
As part of Water Resources South East, we’ve been working with five other water companies in the south-east, as well as customers, stakeholders and other water-using sectors. Together, we're developing plans to address our future water resources challenges.
Following a public consultation, we published our revised draft Water Resources Management Plan 2024. This is subject to acceptance by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Our revised draft Plan lays the foundation for a wide range of solutions to plug the shortfall between the amount of water we have and the amount we need. These measures are designed to safeguard supplies and decrease water shortages during prolonged drought periods.
We're setting a target to halve leakage by 2050, and install a further one million smart water meters in customers’ homes. New water resources are at the centre of our Plan, including a new river abstraction on the Thames, close to Teddington Weir. This will be supported by water recycling, and a new reservoir in Oxfordshire, south-west of Abingdon.
Autumn 2023 update
We’ve launched a public consultation on the initial site options identified for the Teddington Direct River Abstraction (DRA) project. Have your say.
We’ve also published an update on the proposed new reservoir to the south-west of Abingdon, or South East Strategic Reservoir Option (SESRO).
Ofwat provided funding to investigate and develop strategic water resource solutions that will benefit customers and wider society, and help to protect and enhance the environment. The Regulators’ Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID), a joint team made up of the three water regulators: Ofwat, the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate, was set up to support and oversee this work. RAPID is overseeing more than a dozen projects across several water companies including recycling, desalination, transfers between regions and reservoirs to identify optimal regional solutions that could be started in 2025-2030.
RAPID has introduced a new regulatory process which sets out the activities that need to be completed, allows comparison of the solutions at regular intervals, and has clear checkpoints, or gates, to assess progress and determine which solutions should be taken forward for further work. Learn more about RAPID and the gated process.
Strategic Resource Options (SROs) under investigation. Source RAPID, June 2023 © Crown copyright
What are our strategic resource solutions?
In this section you can read about each of the solutions including the technical reports, additional information provided to RAPID and feedback from RAPID.
Gate 2 reports were submitted to RAPID in November 2022. RAPID published its final decision on each of the solutions on 28 June 2023.
Gate 1 reports were submitted in July 2021.
Strategic resource solutions
- Water transfer from the River Severn to the River Thames
- A new reservoir in Abingdon
- Water recycling (reuse) schemes in London
- Water transfer from Thames Water to Affinity Water
- Water transfer from Thames Water to Southern Water