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  • Grid helped keep the Beast at bay

    Our pioneering water supply grid, which allows water to be moved around our region to areas of need, was key to keeping customers in supply when the ‘Beast from the East’ struck in March.

    Grid map

    Two reports have been published today by the water industry regulator Ofwat and the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), both of which review water companies' handling of the freezing conditions.

    Burst pipes left thousands of people in other parts of the UK without supply, but our customers didn't suffer the same fate thanks to our £228 million pipeline.

    In Ofwat's report into March's big freeze and thaw, the regulator recognises that we prepared in advance for the extreme weather and went out of its way to help customers who had problems in their own homes.

    The report reads: "Wessex Water used technology effectively during this incident to identify the sources of leaks and complete repairs quickly." 

    Meanwhile, a DWI report into the severe weather reads: "Wessex Water managed its operations without any loss of supplies to consumers despite the company's area being covered by the red weather warning issued for the south-west.


    "The company attributes this to the robust preparations made in the period leading up to the start of the freeze, and its strategic supply network which allows water to be transferred across different parts of the company's area."

    While it is not the responsibility of water companies to fix leaks on private supply pipes, we issued advice about lagging pipes and arranged for bottled water to be delivered to customers in vulnerable situations.

    Ashlea Lane, our director of water supply, said: "While some people in the UK were without water during the freeze-thaw event, thankfully our careful planning paid off and we were able to keep customers in supply.

    "There's no doubt that our newly-built water supply grid was key to being able to move water to areas that were affected most by the extreme conditions.

    "Our staff worked day and night to put customers first, choosing to stay on and provide extra help rather than going home to their families. This underpins how committed they are to the communities we serve."

    We dealt with around 200 weather-related leaks and gave advice to more than 1,500 customers who had problems in their homes during the cold snap.

    And the company has released video footage on social media of the impressive 74km water supply pipeline, which runs from Dorset to Wiltshire and helped to beat the Beast from the East.


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