South East Rivers Trust (& the Wandle Trust)

Affinity Water need to hear from you!

This is the third in a series on blogs focusing on the Water Resource Management Plans for the water companies operating in the south east. To find out what these plans are and why they are important, read our Introduction Blog.

Blog Three: Affinity Water

Affinity Water supply 900 million litres of drinking water a day to 3.6 million customers in the south east of England. Their supply area is fragmented and divided into eight sections, each named after a local river. Take a look at their supply area below.

As with all water companies across the UK, Affinity Water is currently consulting on their Water Resource Management Plan, which outlines how they will continue to supply water for the next 60 years (2020 to 2080), as well as their Business Plan which shows how your bill may be affected in the next five years (2020 – 2025).

The consultation is open until the 23rd May. 

Whether you are a customer of Affinity Water, or an interested party, don’t miss this opportunity to have your say on their plans and how they will affect the local environment. Read our blog to find out more about Affinity Water’s proposals and the different ways you can have your say.

Key Statistics:

  • Affinity Water supply an average of 900 million litres of drinking water a day.
  • 65% of this water is taken from the chalk aquifers; water that would otherwise be feeding our vulnerable and precious chalkstreams.
  • Of the 900 million litres of water abstracted each day, 19 % is lost to leaks in the network.
  • Between 2015 and 2020, Affinity Water reduced leakage from 189 to 162 million litres, the largest percentage reduction of leaks in the water industry.
  • Affinity Water customers currently use an average of 160 litres each per day, which is above the national average of 141 litres each per day.

Key Improvement Areas

There has been increasing evidence that our rivers, and particularly chalkstreams, are being over abstracted and left vulnerable to low flows.

Affinity Water should aim to stop abstracting from our vulnerable chalkstreams and look to more sustainable sources of water. 

  • Affinity Water is heavily reliant on water from the chalk aquifers that feed chalkstreams in the south east of England.
  • Chalkstreams are globally rare habitats with only 200 worldwide and it is our duty, and Affinity Water’s duty, to protect them for future generations.
  • This reliance on groundwater leaves their supply more vulnerable to weather patterns, particularly extended periods of low rainfall when the chalk aquifer is not replenished.
  • We want to see Affinity Water invest in more sustainable water sources, such as new reservoirs. This will help reduce the need to take additional water from the environment in times of drought.

Affinity Water should invest more in reducing leaks and reducing water use

  • The 19% of the water taken from the environment which is leaked in the network is an unnecessary loss of water.
  • Affinity Water should do more to actively identify leaks in the network, including helping customers to find leaks within their homes.
  • Affinity Water should work with local organisations to promote water saving and help customers reduce the amount of water they use.

How will this work affect my water bill?

The Water Resource Management Plan is for 60 years, but Affinity Water are also consulting on their draft Business Plan which shows what they plan to deliver in the next five years, and the effect this will have on your water bill.

In the Draft Business Plan, Affinity Water propose several different options under different topics, including leakage, abstraction, droughts and more. The image below shows their three proposed plans, and the cost to your water bill.

We want the best for the natural environment and therefore would like to see the most environmentally friendly options delivered across the board. This includes:

  • Reducing leakage by 15 %
  • Taking 39 million litres less water from the environment
  • Reducing personal water use to 124 litres per day
  • Investing £6 million to fund new environmental projects

Currently these options do not all fall within one of the proposed plans, and therefore we are calling for a Plan D, and would ask you to do the same.

How to I respond to Affinity Water?

The consultations for the Water Resource Management Plan and Business Plan are separate.

To respond to the Water Resource Management Plan, click here and complete the form. You can then submit this to Affinity Water here.

To respond to the Business Plan, click here and complete the form. You can then submit this to Affinity Water here.

We hope you find the time to respond to both as every voice counts in protecting the environment.