This is the first of 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.
Thames Water is the largest water and wastewater provider in the UK, serving 15 million customers throughout the Thames basin, right from the Cotswolds to the Thames Estuary, where the river meets the sea.
In this blog we will outline their Water Resources Management Plan to help you understand how Thames Water’s proposals will affect your local environment, and highlight what we think are the key points to raise in their consultation to see the best improvement for our rivers and streams.
Their consultation is open until the 29th April so make sure you don’t miss your opportunity to stand up for your local river.
- Every day Thames Water alone removes 2,600 million litres of water from natural systems, including rivers and the underground reserves that feed our wonderful chalkstreams, in order to meet our water demands. The more water we use, the more they take and the less there is available for wildlife.
- 25% of this abstracted water is lost before it even reaches us through leaks in supply pipes. This is an unnecessary loss of our precious water resource.
- Thames Water have estimated that with increasing population, and decreasing water availability due to climate change, there will be a water shortfall of 864 million litres per day by 2100.
- There were 1290 incidents of raw sewage flooding last year. Blockages and heavy rainfall can overwhelm the capacity of the current outdated drainage system, causing untreated waste to back up and overflow, entering the environment. See our video of the overflowing Epsom Storm Tanks here.
- 385 “minor pollution incidents” occurred over the same period. These can be caused by misconnected drainage from residential and business properties, when foul water from sinks, washing machines and toilets, is accidentally entering the surface water drainage system and flowing untreated, directly into rivers.
Chalkstream experiencing low flows. Polluting outfall with “sewage rag”
Key Improvement Areas…
We’ve seen first-hand the threats facing rivers in our region. Thames Water has many opportunities to lessen the impacts they are having on the natural environment and some key areas to improve include:
- Reducing the amount of water wasted through leakages.
- Stopping abstraction from our rare chalkstream habitats and use more sustainable sources instead.
- Increasing capacity and investing more in updating old assets in their sewage system that can no longer cope with the increased population, like the storm tanks.
- Rectifying misconnected drains and working more closely with partners and local authorities to stop new misconnections occurring.
- Helping consumers to reduce the amount of water they use at home.
- Installing Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) to reduce the volume of surface water getting into the sewer system during storms, which overload the network and often result in pollution incidents.
Have your say…
There is the potential for great improvement to the health of our rivers. We’d like you to help empower Thames 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.
This consultation ends on 29th April.
Got 5 minutes? Use the Thames Water Interactive Tool so show them how you’d like their spending to be prioritised.
Got a bit longer? Send Thames Water an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your views. We’ve drafted a template you can personalise to help start you off, download it here.
The full Thames Water plans can be found on their consultation page.