Our responsible business commitment to create more partnership community projects on water use and vulnerability.
We plan to increase the number of projects each year working in partnership with universities and local charities to engage with our community specifically to support our customers in vulnerable situations and reduce water use. We will develop a partnership project to look specifically at water footprints. A water footprint measures embedded water use, not just the water drawn from the tap.
This supports the WaterUK Public Interest Commitment to make bills affordable (also see our vulnerable customer strategy
Desired impact – For South East Water to be a stronger part of the community – bring benefits to those involved in the partnership, but also helping meet our strategic business commitments to reduce water use, meet vulnerability needs and improve the environment.
How have we performed?
During the year we have recruited our Vulnerability Strategy Manager and Water Efficiency Lead to support delivery of these commitments and these roles work together to ensure opportunities and solution benefits are maximized.
We have completed work to understand who our stakeholders are and developed a partnership plan.
Our on-going Affordability forum has been created and been running since April 2020 (it has met three times and has provided useful insight to support our views on affordability over the Covid period as well as views on our partnership approach. We will be creating further focused forum groups in 2021/22 to support our Vulnerability Strategy refresh.
In November 2020 we held our vulnerability stakeholder event with 66 experts from more than 60 organisations taking part. We have also launched a partnership page on our website to promote the many and varied organisations we are working with to give direct customer access to additional support services they may need.
We will be working on the development of our “Water footprint” activities lead by our new Water Efficiency Lead and will continue to work closely with WaterUK and Waterwise on the “Water’s Worth Saving” campaign.
Our partnership with Ashford Borough Council saw a population of 130,000 receive water efficiency advice through the council magazine and via social media.
Impact of Covid-19
There have been mixed impacts, some partners have had to understandably focus on priorities that the pandemic has caused them and also some charities have furloughed staff during lockdowns. But there has also been positives with opportunities to connect to support our community during the year and some organisations have been able to join events more easily thanks to online video conferencing enabling easier access for all.