Managing existing resources

The South East of England is one of the driest regions in the UK so it’s important we all work together to make the best use of the limited resources available.

We want to lead the way by tackling leakage, promoting metering and working with customers to be water efficient in homes, gardens and businesses.

We take a twin-track approach - sustainably managing what we use and developing new resources.

Watch our video to find out how we manage your water supply:



Tackling leakage is a priority and we spend more than £13 million each year on finding and repairing leaks on our 14,500 kilometres of water mains. We continue to meet the stringent leakage targets set by our regulator Ofwat.

This target is set at the Economic Level of Leakage – this is the level at which it becomes more expensive to find and repair tiny weeps and seeps, than it does to develop and build new water resources.

An estimated one third of leakage occurs in the underground supply pipes which connect to customers’ properties and are their responsibility. To help tackle leaks on these pipes, we offer an Assisted Leak Repair Scheme.

Our existing mechanisms have served us well but we need to look at continuing improvement. We are striving to do more, to find the most effective way to tackle leaks and how the cost is funded.

For more information see our factsheet:

Leaks: the facts

Water Metering

South East Water actively promotes water meters as the fairest method of charging as customers only pay for what they use.

In 2007, our supply area was declared as an area of “serious” water stress. As a result, we are carrying out our Customer Metering Programme to tackle demand for water .

This will raise the total number of customers on a meter from 37% in 2007, to 90% by 2020. It will also help save up to 25 million litres a day more than current metering programmes, as households on a meter tend to use less water.

Water Efficiency

South East Water runs a robust water efficiency campaign as part of its 25-year Water Resources Management Plan. We continue to press for new legislation to require water efficiency devices to be installed as standard in new and renovated homes under building regulations.

Other activities include working with schools, businesses, communities and individuals to promote everyday water saving activities and advice such as:

  • Supplying free water saving devices for toilet cisterns
  • Promoting water butts
  • Offering specialist garden advice
  • Offering water audits for schools and businesses
  • Online metering for large water users

Housing Partnerships

By working in partnership with housing developers we can encourage builders to develop more water efficient homes. We have teamed up with Hillreed Homes, Kent County Council and the Environment Agency to trial the innovative Savings on Tap project.

As a result Hillreed Homes has installed all new homes on the Highland Park development, in Ashford, with water efficiency appliances and fittings such as ultra low dual flush toilets, A+ rated washing machines, water saving wash basins and outside taps, high performance showers with aerated shower heads and water butts.

Alternative Tariffs Pilot

We have been investigating the use of seasonal tariffs by running a pilot scheme in conjunction with our Savings on Tap initiative in Ashford. In this is a long-term trial, 100 customers are being charged on a variable tariff to encourage more careful use of water during the summer.

Sharing Water Supplies

We have worked in partnership with Southern Water to build a 29 kilometre pipeline to transfer water supplies from Bewl Water Reservoir, in Kent, to Darwell Reservoir, in East Sussex, and from there to our Hazards Green Water Treatment Works. This pipeline can transfer up to 35 million litres of water a day to help supply customers in Hastings, Eastbourne and Mid Sussex where local water sources are more scarce. We continue to share bulk supplies of water with neighbouring companies.

Water Resources in the South East

Being in an area of water-stress we work with our neighbours on combined initiatives to manage resources and demand, including:

  • Water Resources in the South East

Visit the Water Resources in the South East website

Visit the Water Resources in the South East website

  • Water Watch - a joint campaign supported by water companies in the South East as well as the Environment Agency.

Visit the Water Watch website