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  • Drought plan - open for consultation

    Our drought plan sets out how we intend to manage water resources during extended periods of dry weather.

    Water companies are required to prepare and maintain a drought plan on a five yearly cycle. We last updated our drought plan in 2013. We have reviewed and updated this plan and produced a new draft for public consultation. The plan is produced following guidance provided by our environmental regulator the Environment Agency.

    Wessex Water has not had to impose restrictions on water use, or apply for drought permits or drought orders for more than 40 years. We would not expect to impose a hosepipe ban more than once every 100 years, or a non-essential use ban more than once in every 150 years, on average. Restrictions on essential use and rota cuts, are regarded as unacceptable.

    There are a variety of actions we can take during a drought to either reduce the demand for water or increase available supplies.

    Measures to reduce demand include running water efficiency campaigns for our customers, enhancing our leakage reduction programme and imposing temporary restrictions on water use, ie, ‘hosepipe bans’. 

    Measures to increase available supplies of water include topping-up storage in our reservoirs by pumping in water from nearby rivers, bringing standby sources into service and applying for drought permits to temporarily vary abstraction licence conditions.

    Our plan monitors water resource availability against four drought planning bands – the bands are used to guide our decision making during dry weather and indicate when we could implement drought management actions.

    The plan also outlines the environmental assessment of the possible impacts of our proposed drought permit options and our communication strategy to ensure our customers, regulators, external organisations and staff are kept well informed of the drought situation and how we are managing it.

    View the full plan.

    Paper copies are also available on request. This plan is currently published as a draft for public consultation, and we welcome your comments.

    If you wish to comment, please send them to the Secretary of State by 28 August 2017, either by post or by email:

    Secretary of State, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
    Drought Plan Consultation
    Water Resources
    Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
    Nobel House (Area 3D)
    17 Smith Square
    SW1P 3JR

    For security reasons our environmental reports, designated sites of conservation importance, and our drought permit options screening, are not available in the drought plan version published on our website. These reports contain more detailed site information regarding environmental screening and investigation of our drought permit options, and information about screening of sites as potential drought permit options. Should you wish to see these documents in order to comment on our drought plan, please contact us to make arrangements.

    Visit our water resources section for an update of current water availability.

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