Southern Water to counter drought threat with desalination plant

Water UK has raised concerns about the available UK water supply in their new report, with particular concerns for the south east of the UK. 

Modelling the various anticipated changes over the next 50 years, the report, Water resources long-term planning framework, says that the UK risks severe water shortages with the anticipated cost of a severe drought at £1.3bn per day.

As the population grows and climate change alters the environment, the south east is predicted to face prolonged droughts. While the unprecedented rainfall that occurred in 2012 accounts for the recent healthy water levels, rainfall in the south east is predicted to decline, with only a few potential areas where reservoirs can still be built.

Looking to the future, Southern Water as the main provider in the area, will be implementing plans to minimise the impact of drought in the future, including a desalinisation plant. 

Meyrick Gough, Southern Water’s water strategy manager said: “We are the only water company to have based our current water resources management plan on the potential droughts of the future and we strongly believe that the water industry needs to act now – and work together – in order to protect our customers.”

The desalinisation plant will be the first built by Southern Water, processing salt water to be suitable for household use, assuring local residents that no matter what the rainfall Southern Water will continue to meet water needs.

Current plans for the desalinisation plant say that the likely location will be around Marchwood, with the intended finalisation date for its construction being 2028.

Other initiatives that Southern Water will be implementing in order to future proof local water supply include incentives for water reuse, water metering, preventing leakage, and connecting with other water providers in order to allow for the transfer of water throughout the UK.

Water UK's report identifies such solutions and forward thinking plans as fundamental to secure a water supply throughout the UK, without which Water UK says that the country will face longer, more frequent and more acute droughts than ever before. The Water UK report comes hard on the heels of the government's National Floods Resilience Review, which also acknowledges the increasingly short supply of water in certain areas of the UK.

With more predictions indicating such risks for the future, water efficiencies and security are becoming a consideration not just for utility companies, but also for more widespread infrastructure and building in the UK.

Click here for more information on the Water resources long-term planning framework report.


Desalination and/or pumping are not the way forward. We are told that greenhouse gas emissions are the principle cause of global warming and both of these simply add more to the atmosphere. My patented solution using a moveable weir in the estuary can solve the problem and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. Brexit has added a further scenario. A 25 year solution is of no use when investors will wish to have no uncertainties when negotiating post Brexit. My idea can solve the problem in the required time span.. It's totally different but given approval is a cheap and quick solution to the problem of water shortage in the South East. Bill Cutting