Drought plan consultation

All water companies are currently publishing their Drought Plans which are subject to a formal consultation allowing comments on the plans to be sent to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Veolia Water Southeast Head of Operations Gavin McHale says the company has extensive experience of dealing with droughts, most recently in 2005-2007 when the south of England was particularly badly affected.

He said: "The Folkestone and Dover area has already been given Water Scarcity Status by Defra which underlines the challenge we face in drought conditions. We have no surface water sources to draw on and rely on taking water from boreholes in the chalk Downs and from gravel beds on Romney Marsh.

"We urge customers to be careful in their use of this scarce resource and we have had a good response to our metering programme which allows customers who save water to reduce their bills."

Veolia Water Southeast provides water supplies to around 158,000 people in an area which stretches from just north of Dover to Dungeness and inland nearly reaching Ashford and Canterbury.

The company is teaming a programme of water saving with major capital investment to ensure a long term sustainable supply. Under a five year £34.5m investment programme to 2015 Veolia Water is upgrading treatment plants and other key works, building new strategic trunk mains and regularly replacing older mains at risk of bursts.

The Drought Plan highlights the way in which the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 has clarified the prohibitions on hosepipe use during a drought. These now include a clear ban on using hosepipes for:

watering a garden or plants
cleaning a motor-vehicle ora private leisure boat
filling a domestic swimming or paddling pool
drawing waterfor domestic recreational use
filling a domestic pondor ornamental fountain
cleaning walls or windows of domestic premises
cleaning paths or patios or other artificial outdoor surfaces
Hosepipe bans of this kind can be introduced by water companies at their discretion. Drought Permits or Drought Orders must be granted by the Environment Agency and Defra to allow further restrictions to be introduced.

Gavin McHale added: "We hope that our Drought Plan will not be needed. Nobody likes to see restrictions on water use introduced but we do have to be prepared and the Plan shows in detail how we would deal with drought conditions."

View the Drought Plan at www.veoliawater.co.uk/southeast.

Comments can be sent to Defra by email, [email protected] or by post to Secretary of State, Drought Plan Consultation, Defra, Area 2C, Ergon House, Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AL. Comments should be returned by 31 January.


For further information, please contact Philip Bosley, PHB Public Relations, on 01580 852500