CATEGORY: Sussex Showcase

Southern Water acts with partners and industry to improve the water resilience of the South East

  • Southern Water welcomes water industry stakeholders to its third annual Developer Day as it works to strengthen water resilience as part of its work to deliver a cleaner environment. 
  • Investment of over £1 million in improving building developer customer services over the past year with £3.6 million planned in the coming 4 years.
  • New Future Growth Lead, Sandra Norval appointed to Future Homes Delivery Hub to put the water industry’s voice at the heart of the housebuilding debate. 

Tuesday 26th October 2021: Southern Water has acted to increase the water resilience of the South East at its third annual Developer Day with critical water industry stakeholders, aimed at ensuring the estimated 120,000 new homes planned for the area over the next five years use water as efficiently as possible, which will help deliver a cleaner environment. 


The day which took place on Thursday 21st October, looked at how to address questions on the theme of: ‘Water for life: Building a resilient water future’ looking specifically at how the industry can work more closely with housing developers, local planning authorities and environmental groups.


Southern Water’s Developer Day came at a critical moment for the water and housebuilding industry with the Government’s new Future Homes Standard set to require all new-build homes to produce 75-80% less carbon emissions than homes delivered under current regulations.


The event brought together a wide range of stakeholders including housing developers, local planning authorities, water regulator Ofwat and the industry wide lobby group Water UK, to collaborate on the question of how to create a more sustainable water future.


Over the last year Southern Water has worked hard to make it easier for businesses, customers and developers to interact with the company by simplifying processes, overhauling online services and transforming the way the company itself works. The Developer Day highlighted the vital work and demonstrated the new initiatives now in place.


Southern Water has in the past year invested £1 million in improving the customer experience of building developers which includes upgrading digital systems and streamlining services. A further £3.6 million will be spent over the next four years to tailor services to developer’s needs.  


Sandra Norval, Southern Water’s Future Growth Lead, said: “As one of the most water-stressed regions in the UK, it’s crucial we ensure all of the 120,000 new homes planned for the South East use water as efficiently as possible.  Southern Water is committed to working with housing developers and local planning authorities to deliver this. I am pleased to be joining the Future Homes Delivery Hub (the Delivery arm of the Future Homes Task Force) to drive the delivery of these water resilient goals.”  


Southern Water is now at the forefront of shaping housebuilding standards working alongside Government and industry.


There needs to be collective recognition of the impact of climate change and population growth on water resources and an effort to find mutually effective ways to develop industry’s approach to the provision of water and wastewater services. Southern Water working together with developers and planners will be essential to achieving Net Zero Carbon, Water and Nutrient Neutrality.


Sandra added:


“We were delighted to showcase all we have been working on around customer improvements over the past year at our Developer Day, as we continue to improve our customer services. Our dedicated Customer Action Groups and GetConnected customer portal are just some of the programmes we have been developing to enhance our customer experience.


“Get Connected is our dedicated developing and building online portal that ensures we remain on top of all applications throughout the development lifecycle and our Customer Action Groups ensures that we are constantly listening to customer feedback before we make decisions.’


Southern Water is also announcing the appointment of Sandra Norval, Southern Water’s Future Growth Lead to the Future Homes Delivery Hub (the Delivery arm of the Future Homes Task Force). Sandra commented:


“I am looking forward to joining the Future Homes Delivery Hub and working on issues that affect developers including water and nutrient neutrality and future water resources. I had some very positive conversations on building a way forward with Developer Day attendees which will kickstart this work. It is vital for our customers, society and the environment that the water industry has its voice heard in this growing debate and Southern Water looks forward to representing the industry in future discussions.”


Notes to Editors:

The Future Homes Task Force is part of the Home Builders Federation, it contains a variety of representatives from across all of the sectors who shape new homes, including: government, housebuilders, utility providers, material suppliers and environmental groups. The taskforce has overseen the development of the Delivery Plan, which holds UK housebuilders accountable to reach a set of environmental goals.


You can read more about the Future Homes Delivery Plan here.


Position statement by Natural England


A recent Position Statement issued by Natural England has brought the urgent need for action on water efficient housebuilding and an industry and nation-wide water neutrality strategy into sharp focus. The Statement has implications for planning applications within Southern Water’s Sussex North Water Supply Zone and the business is currently working with the relevant stakeholders to rectify the issue. 


Southern Water is aware that individual Councils have issued statements on this issue and has been working together with these Council’s on long-term solutions for water neutrality. Southern Water takes planning for new developments in its catchment area seriously and plans in accordance with water industry regulations and standards. Southern Water’s Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) incorporates the most accurate population and Local Plan housing growth forecasts that are available to ensure that the company proactively plans and manages future risks to its customers and the environment. Southern Water is currently working on the next long term WRMP which will outline how the business plans to maintain security of supply for its customers beyond 2024.


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