South East Rivers Trust (& the Wandle Trust)

South East Water want to hear from you!

This is the second 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 Two: South East Water

South East Water supply drinking water to 2.2 million customers in the south east of England, drawing their water supply from more than 250 boreholes, six rivers and three reservoirs. Take a look at their supply area below.

As with all water companies across the UK, South East 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).

The consultation is open until the 21st of May. 

Whether you are a customer of South East 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 South East Water’s proposals and the different ways you can have your say.

Key Statistics:

Water use and demand is already high and set to increase

  • South East Water provides an average of 520 million litres of water a day to its customers.
  • Customers in South East Water’s area use an average of 151 litres a day; 21 litres a day higher than neighbouring Southern Water customers.
  • The more water we use, the more they take and the less there is available for wildlife.
  • Over the next 60 years, the population in South East Water’s supply area is set to rise by 53 %, that’s 3.34 million customers by 2080.
  • To meet this demand, South East Water need to find an additional 268 million litres a day (ML/day).

The drinking water piped to South East Water customers is taken from natural systems

  • 73 % of water supplied to customers is taken from the groundwater resources that feed many rivers and streams in the south east, including globally rare chalkstream habitats.
  • 19 % of the water supplied is from surface water, including six rivers and three surface water fed reservoirs.
  • 17 % of the water put into supply is lost to leaks in the network.

Key Improvement Areas

We’ve all seen first-hand the threats facing rivers in our region. South East Water has many opportunities to lessen the impacts they are having on the natural environment and some key areas to improve are outlined below.

South East Water should invest in more sustainable and resilient options for water supply in the future.

  • South East Water is heavily reliant on groundwater, abstracting 73 % of the water they need from the aquifers that feed rivers in the south east, including globally rare chalkstreams.
  • This reliance on groundwater leaves their supply more vulnerable to weather patterns, particularly extended periods of low rainfall when the groundwater is not replenished.
  • Chalkstreams are globally rare habitats with only 200 worldwide and it is our duty, and South East Water’s duty, to protect them for future generations.
  • We want to see South East Water fast-track the creation of more sustainable water sources, such as the proposals to extend or create new reservoirs.

South East Water need to invest more to reduce leakage and supply demand

  • Currently, 17 % of the water put into supply by South East Water is lost to leaks in the network, that’s 88.6 ML/day.
  • South East Water plan to reduce leakage by 15 % (14 ML/day) between 2020 and 2080, bringing leakage down to 74.6 ML/day. This will be 8.6 % of the water they abstract lost to leaks.
  • While this is a great target, any water leaked in the pipe network is an unnecessary loss of water and if fixed, could reduce the need to abstract from groundwater sources.
  • More investment is required to help customers reduce their water usage. The average household per capita consumption (151 l/h/d) in South East Water’s region remains higher than the national average (141 l/h/d) and yet the south east of England is classified as seriously water stressed.

Have your say by the 21st of May

We’d like you to help empower South East Water to make the right decisions by showing your customer support for increased investment in environmental improvement works and calling for some of the actions we have outlined above.

Respond by email

You can send South East Water an email with your views by heading to

We’ve drafted a template you can personalise to help start you off, download it here.

Attend a drop in event

You can also go and see them in person at one of their remaining drop in events:

  • 3 May 2018 14.00 to 19.30 – South East Water Scientific Services Laboratory, 3 Columbus Drive, Farnborough, GU14 0NZ
  • 8 May 2018 14.00 to 17.30 – Basingstoke Discovery Centre, Festival Place Shopping Centre, Basingstoke, RG21 7LS