Agenda item

South West Water

Representative from South West Water to attend to respond to questions that have been raised by Members of the Policy Development Committee.


The Chair welcomed Alan Burrows (Director of Environmental Liaison and Culture Director) and Vicky Garner (Community and Partnerships Manager), South West Water to the meeting.


Council received a presentation by Alan Burrows, Director of Environmental Liaison and Culture, South West Water (SWW) who outlined the following:


·       SWW included Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO’s). The purpose of storm overflows.

·       The drivers for reducing CSO spills which included the WaterFit scheme, DEFRA’s Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan and the Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan.  SWW was required to submit an annual return to the Environment Agency regarding the location and action being taken on CSO’s

·       The WaterFit scheme would be launched next week.  The purpose of the scheme was to protect rivers and seas together and SWW’s 6 commitments were:

o   Nurturing healthy rivers and seas

o   Putting nature on everyone’s doorstep

o   Creating and restoring habitats

o   Inspiring local champions

o   Creating a sustainable future

o   Putting people in control

·       The WaterFit Scheme would include map on the SWW’s website which would identify the status of each beach and whether there had been a CSO discharge and its impact, provided the ability to zoom in on a location and search by beach name and included details of investment information. This would go live on 25 March 2023 and provide information available in near real time.

·       SWW’s Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans.  The plans were a high level strategy and overview looking towards 2050; designed to identify risks, interests and appropriate interventions at catchment level; intended to create pathways and opportunities for collaborative solution finding; was currently in draft form and constantly evolving; one part of delivering SWW’s wider business strategy. The objectives of the plans were to maintain flood risk; maintain compliance; and improve storm overflow performance.

·       SWW Wastewater assets located in North Devon.  The sewerage network in the South West was in the region of 20,000 km, which was located mostly underground and sometimes difficult to get to.  In North Devon, 10 years ago there were nine pollutions and in 2021, there was one pollution.

·       Investment at North Devon beaches, under WaterFit which included the beaches at Combe Martin, Croyde Bay, Hele, Lynmouth and Woolacombe. He would provide further information regarding the details of the investment at each of these locations following the meeting.

·       Drinking water pressure – SWW pressure management strategy was driven by the need to protect the network, the environment and raw resources, to ensure that they continue to provide all customers with a potable water supply in the future.

·       SWW’s supply area in the South West. SWW provided water for 2.2 million people living and working Cornwall, Devon and parts of Somerset and Dorset as well as in the Bournemouth area and the Isles of Scilly.

·       Draft Water Resources Management Plans for 2025-2050.  The purpose of the plan and the stages for developing the plan.  The demand reduction solutions and solutions that increased supply.


There then followed a question and answer session.


Following questions, Alan Burrows agreed to provide the following information to Members:


·       Details of how the sewerage capacity levels were formulated and calculated for houses.

·       Number of planning applications that SWW had recommended refusal due to sewerage capacity issues.


The Chief Executive advised that he would review SWW’s consultation on the draft Water Resources Management Plan and arrange for a response to be provided.


The Chair thanked Alan Burrows for his presentation to Council.