Agenda item


Presentation from SES Water, about their water saving campaign in Tandridge.


Declarations of Interest: None


Officer attending: Alison Murphy, SES Water, Water Strategy Manager


Petitions, Public Questions, Statements: None


The Committee received a presentation from SES Water on Every Drop Counts in Oxted.


Highlights from the presentation


·         SES water at carrying out a water efficiency pilot project in the Tandridge district.  This will allow them to test out a number of technologies and methods in order to reducing demand in the most effective way.

·         SES Water currently supply 160 million litres of clean water a day to 707,000 customers across the company area.  It is predicted that the number of customers will rise to 1 million by 2060 so need to consider and test methods now to balance supply and demand in the future.

·         SES Water’s Business Plans for 2020-2025 is to

1)    Reduce leakage by 15% across the network

2)    Reduce household consumption by 7% per person

3)    Install water meters for 90% of customers including 10% smart meters

4)    Monitor water consumption in newly built properties

·         The South East, is a water stressed area and the population is increasing. By using water more efficiently will reduced the need for a large scale solutions in the future and protect rivers and wetlands.

·         Water consumption on average is 160 litres a day per person in the Tandridge area. SES water would like customers to reduce it to 134 litres a day per person by 2025.  Keen to raise awareness and encourage customers  think about how much water and energy they are using.

·         SES Water are offering free home water efficiently checks to homes in Tandridge and their aim is to carry out 1000 properties this year.  This will include fitting water saving devices and fix any leaks on the customer side.  So far there has been 300 visits in social housing properties, Oxted has had a take up of 10% of lettered properties and the Caterham phase has just been launched.

·         Other plans include creating an intelligent network so they can use technology to manage the network and find and fix leaks quicker.

·         Using Smart metering, for customers to see how much they are using.  Trials for this technology is starting in the autumn in Tandridge, and SES Water wish to recruit 30 households from the district to test the technology before it is rolled out further.


Member Discussion – Key points


1.    A Member asked what is the cost to the customer to have a smart meter?

It was advised that there is no cost to the customer as the cost had already been factored into the organisations business plan and the benefits outweigh the cost of the meter.


2.    It was asked if Water companies in the South East of England should be speaking more to the Government to highlight that it’s a water stressed area and if the number of customers is expected to rise to 1 million there may be issues in increasing homes in the South East.  The Member commented that even with all the savings set out in the business plan there’s still not enough water. 


The Officer explained that the business plan is for 5 years of 2020- 2025, and  the expected customer number of 1 million is for 2060.  SES water are working with other water companies in the South East to make the region more resilient, this would mean any surplus water could be made available to an area of the region that requires more water.


Smart meters have worked well within the Thames Water region who have already implemented a programme.  Customer usage has reduced and people are becoming more aware of their water usage.  Community reward schemes have also proved to be effective, where communities work together competing against another area to reduce their usage.  The community that has saved the most is rewarded.  This is something that could be piloted in the Tandridge area next year.



3.    It was asked if customer leaks account for a third of the leaks then what is SES Water doing about the remaining two thirds?


The Officer advised that the aim is to reduce leakage to 15% by 2025, through technology they would like to reduce leakage further to 6 or 7% by 2050.

Of the two thirds of leaks that are on the network, approximately half are extremely small leaks that are very hard or impossible to find with current technology.  The company is investing in new technology to help find smaller leaks and reviewing their mains replacement programme to replace mains reaching the end of their life, where carrying out repeat repairs is no longer viable.  Both customers and SES Water need to work together to in order to reduce leaks on both the customer side and on the network and improve water usage overall. 



A question was sent in via twitter from a resident unable to attend the meeting.  It was asked what OFWAT consider a tolerable leakage figure and were SES water meeting this?


The Officer explained that tolerable leakage considers the economic level of where it costs more to fix the leak compared with leaving it. In the current Business Plan process emphasis has moved away from the economic level of leakage and more towards safe guarding current and future supplies through effect water management.  For SES Water part of this strategy is to reduce leakage along with other demand reduction strategies.


4.    Members thanked the Officer for attending the meeting and for the well informed presentation.