Ofwat has today confirmed it will continue to provide ring-fenced funding for further investigations into four strategic regional water resource solutions in England. These proposed solutions could provide long-term, resilient water supplies to drier parts of the country.
The proposals have been thoroughly assessed by the Regulators Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID), set up to help facilitate the development and funding of new large scale strategic water supply solutions.
The four solutions are:
- Hampshire water transfer and water recycling, proposed by Southern Water and Portsmouth Water.
- Water recycling in Hampshire, proposed by Southern Water.
- Upper Derwent Valley Reservoir Expansion proposed by Severn Trent and Yorkshire Water.
- The Mendips Quarries solution proposed by South West Water and Wessex Water.
Representations received for each solution, helped to shape the feedback from RAPID. Key points to note are:
- More needs to be done by Southern Water and Portsmouth Water to help customers understand the water recycling process. This should explain how treated wastewater goes through reverse osmosis filtration – to turn it into clean water.
- Southern Water needs to do more to progress environmental and water quality monitoring.
- Further evidence during the representation period for Derwent Valley has changed the original submission. The proposal has now doubled in size and budget due to the need to reduce abstraction levels in the Midlands.
- The Mendips quarry proposal is innovative in form and has a much smaller carbon footprint than any of the other solutions.
Hampshire Water Transfer and Water Recycling and Water Recycling solutions will now progress to the next checkpoint, accelerated gate three. As Derwent Valley and Mendips Quarry were new proposed solutions, they will progress to gate two.
A further proposal in Hampshire for a desalination plant in Fawley, which had been considered at gate one, will not progress any further.
David Black, Chief Executive at Ofwat, said:
“To meet future needs of customers we need more water supplies alongside reducing leakage and making better use of water. We also need more innovative approaches. The new solutions are demonstrating this kind of approach and we would like to see more of it.”
Paul Hickey, RAPID Managing Director and chair of the RAPID Advisory Group, said:
“Collaboration has been key to the RAPID programme working effectively. Ofwat, the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate are continuing to work closely together to support progress on investigating and developing these essential water resources schemes.
“The innovation that is being proposed not only enables greater water resilience in the future, but also offers greener environmental long-term solutions.”
Notes to editors
The Regulators’ Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID)was set up in 2019. It is a partnership made up of the water regulators – Ofwat, the Environment Agency (EA), the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI).
RAPID was formed to help facilitate the development and funding of these new large scale strategic water supply solutions. Each of the strategic solutions will pass through a gated process where decisions are made on delivery penalties and continuation of funding for further investigation and development of solutions.
The solutions put forward by Southern Water are intended to address its very urgent need to plug the gap between supply and demand in the South and South East of England. These solutions are on an accelerated gate process and should be operational by 2030.
RAPID has an Advisory Group with membership drawn from the partner regulators, Natural England and from Natural Resources Wales. It is also supported by other regulators including CCW (Consumer Council for Water) and by a number of technical groups.