Our business is intrinsically linked to the environment as we rely on it for our raw product, water. For this reason we do all we can to ensure there is a clean, resilient and sustainable supply available for current and future water customers whilst ensuring there is enough water available to support the needs of the environment too. Click 'Discover More' to find out more from our Head of Environment, Emma Goddard.


Our people are dedicated to providing you with the best service possible, whether they’re out in the field searching for leaks, managing our operational sites, testing the quality of your water or answering your queries. Each and every person within the business is dedicated to delivering you the safe reliable tap water supply you expect. Click 'Discover more' to find out more from our Head of HR, Sian Jenkins.

Introduction by Oliver Martin, Regulation and Strategy Director

A safe, reliable supply of drinking water to homes and commercial premises across our region is at the very heart of our business.

We are entrusted to deliver a safe and reliable supply of top-quality drinking water and to meet the challenges of a growing population and climate change through investment, innovation and improved resilience.

Providing safe, reliable supply of drinking water to homes and commercial premises across our region is at the very heart of our business. We are proud of the quality of our water and the teams who produce it.

It is vital we have the trust of our consumers at all times. To maintain it we constantly monitor our performance against the expectations through a range of measures, including the taste and smell of our tap water and interruption to supply. Trust is also the cornerstone of our ‘licence to operate’.

This year our ability to provide a trusted and reliable service has been severely challenged by the impacts of climate change.

Our UKAS-accredited specialist laboratory at Farnborough in Hampshire conducted more than 500,000 water quality tests in the last year. These were conducted at all stages of the treatment process, from our raw water catchments through to customers’ taps, with 99.98 per cent of final water samples passing the Drinking Water Inspectorate’s (DWI) stringent quality standards.

We have performed strongly against the target and industry average in the DWI’s Compliance Risk Index performance measure. This considers water quality compliance failures at water treatment works, service reservoirs and in domestic household water plumbing, (cause, location and customer impact).

The Event Risk Index, based on the number and seriousness of events, how they are managed and their impact, is currently above our target, mainly due to the extent and duration of extreme weather events throughout the year (summer incident, flooding and freeze/thaw) but we continue to perform better than the industry average.

In October we engaged with our supply chain to host an ideas sprint session as part of our ambitious leakage recovery plan work in the wake of the exceptional weather events. This well-supported event brought around 20 of our suppliers together and concluded that our leakage strategy remained sound. As a result of the event, more work is being done via our overarching IT strategy to make sure all our data and systems are closely aligned to further improve our effectiveness, while further increasing our data points in the field to help us detect leaks and identify supply network issues. We have an ambitious recovery in place to March 2025.

We have continued to invest and innovate using the latest satellite technology to help us find and fix leaks on our vast network of underground pipes. In the past year we have surveyed 15 per cent of our network in this way.

Repairs to our drinking water storage tanks in mid-Kent are continuing following sinkhole damage in 2020.

Repairs to our drinking water storage tanks in mid-Kent are continuing following sinkhole damage in 2020.

One reservoir cell has been back in operation for more than a year; one has been safely demolished; and the third, and largest, cell is being extensively repaired to strengthen the structure. When complete in 2023, the site will provide 14.6 million litres of drinking water storage.

The treatment process at Woodgarston is now benefitting from new £5.5 million nitrate removal equipment installed at the treatment works to future-proof the water supply from forecasted nitrate level increases in the area.

We have completed the programme of disinfection upgrades across 10 sites, including installation of new UV disinfection plants across our network to make our disinfection process more resilient, whilst a major upgrade at Barcombe Water Treatment Works is progressing well.

An extensive calm network survey has been carried out in more than 100 locations across our network as part of an ongoing programme. A calm network, with smooth and stable management of pressure levels, is a key part of our leakage strategy as it reduces the number of bursts on the network and reduces the rate of growth of existing hard-to-find leaks. Through intelligent pressure monitoring, reducing pressure variations across our network and reviewing our valve controls and pumping technologies, we can identify areas with high pressure variations and reduce interruptions to supply. This benefits customers and enables us to make further leakage reductions that would not be possible through the more traditional ‘find and fix’ approach.

We have continued to work closely with organisations able to offer support in the event of major water supply incidents. During the extreme weather incidents, this involved liaising with local resilience forums, particularly in Kent and Sussex, about alternative supplies to key infrastructure sites (e.g., hospitals) and to vulnerable customers. We are now looking at what we can do to strengthen these partnerships to further improve our planning and response in preparation for future events.

Our teams have been extraordinarily agile during the exceptional weather events of the past year, adapting well to prioritise their workloads and support other areas during incidents. There was a sterling effort by colleagues to resolve issues and offer support to customers in the run-up to Christmas, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The freeze thaw in December impacted four per cent of our customers, mainly in Sussex and the Tunbridge Wells area of Kent.

We provided a lot of support to customers experiencing leaks and bursts in their own properties, in addition to those we found and fixed on our own network, and we have implemented a new process to help customers to fix leaks on their own properties.

A number of engineering projects have been accelerated as a result of the extreme weather issues and some additional longer term resilience schemes have been added into the Price Review 24 process.


Company sites protected from risk of flooding

Making sure our sites can continue to operate following extremes of weather is vital to help ensure the resilience of your water supply. By 2024/25 we have committed to protecting 92 of our sites from flooding with less than a 1/1000 Annual Exceedance Probability.

Licence breaches

We are compliant with other statutory obligations and licence conditions

We expect ourselves to be compliant with all our statutory obligations and licences at all times and to have zero breaches. We define breaches by the number of prosecutions and enforcement actions taken out against us during the year.


We are compliant with national security obligations

The security surrounding the supply of water to all our customers is something we take extremely seriously. As one of our Key Performance Indicators, we expect to be compliant with all our security obligations and have zero breaches.


Transparency of reporting

Our responsible business commitment is to create transparency of reporting as we know this matters to our customers and stakeholders and that they can trust us.


Trusted corporate governance

Our responsible business commitment to trusted corporate governance

gap site

Gap sites

Gap sites are those residential properties which are occupied, not billed and are not recorded on our billing database. During 2020/21 we committed to finding 25 household gap sites.


Voids – business properties

Business properties which are void are those which are connected to mains water and/or sewerage systems but are not charged because they are recorded as empty. We set ourselves the 2020/21 target to maintain the number of void business properties at 8.10 per cent.


Voids – household

Void household properties are those which are connected to mains water and/or sewerage systems but are not charged because they are believed to be empty. During 2020/21 we set ourselves the target to reduce the number of void household properties on our systems to 2.10 per cent.


Strategic main – Wellwood to Potters Corner

Our plan to lay a new 15 kilometre long pipeline between our Wellwood and Potters Corner water storage tanks will enable us to pump more water into the Ashford area. The new water main is due to be fully commissioned by September 2026.

Properties at risk of low pressure

Properties at risk of low pressure

It is extremely important to us that you receive a water supply with adequate water pressure behind it. Measured by properties for every 10,000 connections, our target, which is based on previous performance, is to have a maximum of 0.5 properties at risk of low pressure.

Arlington Reservoir during prolonged dry weather

Risk of severe restrictions in a drought

Dry weather (or a drought) is a natural event which happens when a period of prolonged low rainfall creates a water shortage. Our target for 2020/21 is to have zero customers impacted by a 1-in-200 year drought.

Unplanned outage of WTW

Unplanned outage of water treatment works

Just as important as maintaining our pipeline network, is maintaining our water treatment assets. We report both unexpected asset failures as well as those when a site is out of operation due to planned maintenance and improvement work.

Water mains repairs

Water mains repairs

This outcome measures how many repairs have been made for each 1,000 kilometres of pipeline we operate.

Interruptions to customers' water supply

Interruptions to customers’ water supply

Despite our ongoing programme to upgrade our infrastructure, burst pipes, site failures or third party damage to our network can sometimes happen.

Tap water

Taste and odour of water

We want to make sure the water you receive tastes and smells as it should. Our target is to receive less than 0.42 contacts per 1,000 customers.

Appearance of tap water

Appearance of tap water

It is important that you receive crystal clear drinking water each time you turn on the tap. One of the ways we monitor whether that’s happening is to record the number of times we’re contacted with concerns about how the water looks.

Bottled water

Event Risk Index (ERI)

Monitored by the Drinking Water Inspectorate, this measure focusses on proactively reducing incident risks relating to water quality.


Compliance Risk Index (CRI)

Monitored by the Drinking Water Inspectorate, this new measure is focused on maintaining the quality of your treated drinking water.


We are committed to reducing the amount of water lost to leaks both on our network, and in customers’ homes, by 15 per cent between 2020 and 2025.


Play an active role regionally in relation to the impact of housing growth

Our responsible business commitment is to play an active role regionally in relation to the impact of housing growth on water.


Per Capita Consumption

By 2025, we are targeting the annual amount of water used by each of our customers to reduce from 143.1 litres a day in 2019/20 to 131.5 litres a day.