Southern Water takes a lead on water efficiency

Cover story


The UK’s Southern Water is taking a strong lead on water efficiency and demand management. Aqua Strategy takes a look at the different elements of its approach.

Ben Earl, Southern Water's Water Efficiency Manager
Ben Earl, Southern Water's Water Efficiency Manager

There are a number of motivations for the UK’s Southern Water to work to drive down customer demand. ‘We are in a water-stressed part of the country, and the projections for population and climate change mean the availability of water will come under greater pressure in future,’ says Ben Earl, the company’s Water Efficiency Manager.

These pressures translate into a need to limit abstractions to provide environmental protection, particularly for internationally-designated chalk stream habitats in Southern Water’s region. Earl notes also that the company has per capita consumption targets agreed with the economic regulator, Ofwat. ‘If we don’t meet our targets, we get fined; if we exceed our targets, we get a financial benefit,’ he adds.

Lower water use brings savings on chemicals and energy to the utility’s operations. There is also a moral issue. ‘Stakeholders and customers are telling us they want us to be saving water,’ says Earl.

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  • UK, Southern Water, water efficiency, utility management