The process of producing a Water Resource Management Plan is part of a new statutory process introduced by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for all water companies.

Water companies are required to produce long term water resource plans to ensure there is a safe, secure and sustainable supply of water from 2010 – 2035.

Secretary of state for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman announced today (December 3) that South East Water’s plan can be published.

The secretary of state also confirmed that while further work needed to be done by the time of the next review in 2014/15, this did not justify delaying publication of South East Water’s plan.

Neither did it mean that South East Water had to remove its options for possible new reservoirs at Clay Hill, near Ringmer, or Broad Oak, near Canterbury, a move sought by Natural England.

Instead, the Secretary of State accepted that two specific areas – the anticipated projected demand for water from 2020 to 2035 and the associated infrastructure projects to meet this demand – would be addressed and resolved during South East Water’s legally required annual reviews.

South East Water’s asset director, Paul Seeley, said: “We are pleased that, in following the Government’s new process on producing future water plans, we were correct to include a range of options in ours – whether that’s metering, leak detection, or building new interconnecting pipelines or strategic new reservoirs.

“We stood by those decisions and were required to defend them at a public inquiry earlier this year, when they came under considerable scrutiny and challenge.”

South East Water will publish its Water Resources Management Plan on its website by the 31st December 2010.

Alison Brown

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