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12 June 23

Our new drought plan 2022

We've been developing our new Drought Plan, which will replace our previous Drought Plan, published in 2018 with a subsequent annual update in 2019.

We submitted our final Plan to Defra for their approval and received their approval to publish on our website. We will now follow our new Plan as we experience a drought event in our area.

The process of developing our new Plan has included:

  • Incorporating lessons learned from recent drought experience, stakeholder feedback and requirements in the latest Environment Agency Guidance
  • Reviewing and updating our drought management triggers and actions, ensuring that our approach complies with relevant guidance and legislation
  • Linking our drought triggers to environmental impacts of drought, where previously they focused predominantly on water supply impacts of drought
  • Creating a new Environmental Stress trigger to address actions which can help to alleviate pressure on the environment early on in a drought event
  • Reviewing and updating our list of drought permit sites (we now have nine drought permits altogether, compared to 15 in our previous plan)
  • A much greater level of engagement and collaboration with other companies in the region (such as through Water Resources South East) to share best practice and improve alignment between drought plans. This is also translated into greater levels of regional collaboration during live drought events.
  • Carrying out a pre-consultation with regulators and key stakeholders in July 2020, along with a full public consultation in June and July 2021.
  • We've been working closely with the Environment Agency and engaging with the relevant area offices throughout the development of our Plan.

View our Drought plan 2023 >

Colour Level Description Drought plan trigger zone (current plan) Drought plan trigger zone (new plan)
Blue Good Water resources are above average, no restrictions in place Above LTA Above LTA
Green Slightly below average Groundwater levels slightly lower than average for the time of year, no restrictions Below LTA, above drought trigger 1 Below LTA, above Environmental Stress
Green/yellow Below average Groundwater levels below average for the time of year, no restrictions but asking customers to use water efficiently Drought trigger zone 1 Environmental Stress
Yellow Low Low groundwater levels, appeals for customers to reduce water use, planning for possible temporary use restrictions Drought trigger zone 2 Drought trigger zone 1
Orange Very low Groundwater levels are very low due to extended dry weather conditions. Temporary use bans likely to be in place, restricting hosepipes for domestic uses during spring/summer months Drought trigger zone 3 Drought trigger zone 2
Brown Exceptionally low Groundwater levels significantly below average. Non-essential use bans likely to be in place. Restrictions cover the use of hosepipes for domestic use and some commercial uses of hosepipes Drought trigger zone 4 Drought trigger zone 3
Red Extreme Possible emergency restrictions Drought trigger zone 5 Drought trigger zone 4


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