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Water resources

Planning your future water supply

We’re planning ahead to make sure we have enough water in the future.

Water is essential for everything we do - from having a drink, to washing our clothes, and flushing the loo. It’s also essential for a healthy environment and a prosperous economy.

Many people think there is plenty of water in the UK, but the South East of England is one of its driest regions and London gets less rain than Rome, Dallas and even Sydney. Our water supplies are being stretched further and further as the number of people living in our area increases. We have to plan ahead because the choices we make today will shape the water supply we can provide in the future.

Our current plan - Water Resources Management Plan 2019

Developing a plan for the South East

Looking at new strategic resource solutions

Proposing new options

Water Resources Market Information

Bid Assessment Framework

Monitoring our performance

Our current plan - Water Resources Management Plan 2019

Every five years we prepare a Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) which sets out how we will provide a secure and sustainable water supply for our customers, whilst protecting the environment.

In March 2020 the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs approved our plan which covers the 80-year period from 2020 to 2100 and sets out how we plan to manage our water resources efficiently alongside developing new supplies of water. Our plan is available to read and download.

You can also download the feedback received from the public consultations and the further information requested by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in December 2019.

Annual performance

Our annual performance report for the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 is available to download. The report presents information on our performance against the commitments in WRMP14, including leakage reduction and development of new water sources, as well as information on the work to develop a multi-sector resilient plan for the south east region. The report is the final annual review for WRMP14.

WRMP14 has now been superseded by WRMP19. If you would like to read WRMP14 please email us.

Developing a plan for the South East

Population growth, climate change and the need to protect the environment are all putting increased pressure on our water resources. And the South East region, already designated as seriously water stressed, is facing potentially greater pressures and challenges than most other regions.

To meet these challenges requires a joined up response. We are working closely with the other water companies in the South East region through the Water Resources South East (WRSE) Group to ensure we take a coordinated and collaborative approach to planning our future water supply.

WRSE is producing a regional plan which will provide an affordable, resilient and sustainable water supply so that customers, businesses, industry and the natural environment have the water they need. The plan will look ahead to 2100 and will include measures to make the most efficient use of resources through better connectivity, catchment solutions to improve the environment, and new infrastructure.

The draft regional plan will be published in 2022. We are currently working on the technical assessments and tools that are needed to develop the plan. We are sharing this work with stakeholders and customers to ensure their views and preferences are considered. To read more about this work, and to get involved, please visit their website.

The regional plan will be the foundation of our next WRMP – Water Resources Management Plan 2024.

Looking at new strategic resource solutions

To boost water supply for future generations we need to invest in new sources of water. Working with other water companies, we are looking at different options:

  • A transfer of water from Wales, the Midlands and North West, via the River Severn to the River Thames.
  • A new reservoir in Oxfordshire.
  • Water reuse schemes in London.
  • A transfer from Thames Water to Affinity Water.
  • A transfer from Thames Water to Southern Water.

Other water companies are looking at other options including desalination, transfers via canals and other new sources.

Map  of areas covered by different water service providers

Source: Ofwat, 2019

By 2022/23 we will know how much water these options could supply, how much they will cost to build and operate, their carbon footprint, and the wider benefits they could bring to the environment and society. We will then recommend which option, or options, are taken forwards as part of the water resources plan for the South East.

We will continue to talk to stakeholders as we undertake this work. If you would like to get involved email us.

Proposing new options

If you would like to suggest a new solution to provide water or a way to manage our current water more effectively, please read the market information and the bid assessment process.

Water Resources Market Information

In line with Ofwat’s Water Resources Market Information guidance, the information below has been provided to enable third parties to begin to identify opportunities and put forward proposals to us to supply water resources, or provide demand management or leakage services.

Our Water Resource Zones

For each of the six water resource zones (WRZ) within Thames Water’s area, we have provided information on key market factors plus our water resources position as set out in our Water Resources Management Plan. This information is in industry-standardised spreadsheets, for the dry year annual average (DYAA) and dry year critical period scenario (DYCP), and is based on templates provided by Ofwat.

The information provided should help third parties to identify where to look for opportunities. However, it is really important that you come and talk to us about your proposal, as our network and the way we provide services to our customers is subject to a range of factors that can change how beneficial opportunities may be or how, when and where we might be able to use them. If you are interested in pursuing any commercial opportunities arising from this information, please view our Bid Assessment Framework for further information.

Our Trading and Procurement Code

The Trading and Procurement Code sets out how we approach water trading, setting out the policies, principles and requirements that will apply when we trade with appointed water companies and other service providers.

Bid Assessment Framework

Encouraging third parties to submit bids for solutions covering water resources, demand management and leakage services that create value for customers is very important to us. These solutions will help us meet our future water needs, as identified in our Water Resources Management Plan, and benefit our current and future customers. Our Bid Assessment Framework (BAF) will provide clarity to third parties on the process that we will apply and how bids will be assessed in line with our key principles of transparency, equal treatment, non-discrimination and proportionality.

We already publish information for third parties, and it is important that the BAF is read in conjunction with our Network Access Code, Water Resources Market Information, Trading and Procurement Code and Water Resources Management Plan. Details of how to access these can be found within the BAF.

To accompany this statement, we have released a Periodic Indicative Notice (or PIN) via OJEU which outlines the process for third parties to engage with us to offer solutions as part of the WRMP24 process.

Third parties looking to offer solutions to Thames Water as part of the WRMP24 process should contact us to register their interest by emailing by the deadline of the 17th July 2020.

Suppliers will need to provide the following in their email:

  • Project applying for (Title and Reference Number as stated in section II.1.1 of the PIN – for WRMP24, this is 1484 WRMP24 – BAF).
  • Company name.
  • 2 x Contact names.
  • 2 x Contact phone numbers.
  • 2 x Email addresses.
  • Whether you are proposing a water supply or demand management/leakage services solution.
  • Whether you would like to be considered in the Standard or Fast Track assessment process (The Fast Track process is intended for solutions of up to around 15Ml/d).

Third parties may contact Thames Water at the above address at any time to register their interest, however if this is done after the 17th July 2020, the proposal may be considered within the WRMP24 process, or at Thames Water’s discretion, the WRMP29 process. Proposals which are clearly beneficial, robust and which are smaller in terms of volume of water delivered (Ml/d) are more likely to be considered for inclusion in our programme sooner in the planning process.

On registering their interest, third parties will be registered on Thames Water’s IASTA SmartSource portal within two weeks and provided access to complete an initial pre-qualification (PQQ1) survey.

Should third parties feel that Thames Water has not followed the BAF during a bid assessment process, they may at any time submit a complaint by emailing a copy of the bid assessment framework complaint form with the subject line “BAF Complaint”. Complaints will be considered in accordance with the complaints process detailed in Section F of the BAF.

Third parties are welcome to share any feedback they have on our BAF process by email using our bid assessment framework feedback form.