Drought plan

Drought plan - update 2018

Our drought plan sets out how we intend to manage water resources during extended periods of dry weather.

Water companies are required to prepare and maintain a drought plan on a five yearly cycle. We last updated our drought plan in 2013.

We have published a final drought plan in 2018, which is now available to download below.

We reviewed and updated this plan in 2017, following guidance provided by the Environment Agency, our environmental regulator. We also undertook a public consultation on the draft version of this plan, and produced a statement of response, which shows where we made changes to the draft plan to produce our final drought plan.

We have not had to impose restrictions on water use or apply for drought permits or drought orders for more than 40 years. We would not expect to impose a hosepipe ban more than once every 100 years, or a non-essential use ban more than once in every 150 years, on average.

Defining the return period of drought events of a magnitude not previously observed is uncertain, but we estimate restrictions on essential use (rota cuts) would only be required during a severe drought that we would expect to experience with a frequency approaching one in 200 years.

There are a variety of actions we can take during a drought to either reduce the demand for water or increase available supplies.

Measures to reduce demand include:

  • running water efficiency campaigns for our customers
  • enhancing our leakage reduction programme
  • imposing temporary restrictions on water use, such as hosepipe bans.

Measures to increase available supplies of water include:

  • topping-up storage in our reservoirs by pumping in water from nearby rivers
  • bringing standby sources into service
  • applying for drought permits to temporarily vary abstraction licence conditions.

Our plan monitors water resource availability against four drought planning bands – the bands are used to guide our decision making during dry weather and indicate when we could implement drought management actions.

The plan also outlines the environmental assessment of the possible impacts of our proposed drought permit options and our communication strategy to ensure our customers, regulators, external organisations and staff are kept well informed of the drought situation and how we are managing it.

For security reasons our environmental reports, designated sites of conservation importance, and our drought permit options screening are not available in the drought plan version published here. These reports contain more detailed site information regarding environmental screening and investigation of our drought permit options, and information about screening of sites as potential drought permit options.

Should you wish to see these documents, please contact us. Paper copies of the drought plan are also available on request.

Visit our water resources page for a current update.