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Hundreds of customers meet with Southern Water on the Isle of Wight

How we tackle storm overflows took top billing at a special two-day programme of customer and stakeholder engagement events on the Isle of Wight

More than 250 community members gathering in Newport and Ryde last week, and heard about the investment and actions happening now, and into the future, to tackle the issues of most importance to customers. 

Increased rainfall can put extra pressure on our sewer network when large volumes of surface water enter the system. To protect homes, schools and businesses from flooding, storm overflows are pressure release valves to allow excess flows to enter the environment. 

We have heard our customers and know this is not an acceptable system moving forwards, so are working hard to reduce our reliance on storm overflows, through a combination of innovative engineering and nature-based solutions, supported by close partnership working  

Our Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force has set up six Pathfinder projects to trial new tactics, including one on the Isle of Wight where thousands of water butts along with Sustainable Drainage Solutions are being deployed.

Other topics raised by visitors to the events were the future resilience of high-quality water supplies, and supporting customers’ bills during the cost-of-living crisis. 

Nick Mills, head of the Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force said: said: “It was really good to hear from our customers on the Isle of Wight about what matters to them. We’re committed to improving our performance on the island, especially when it comes to reducing the number of storm overflow releases and we’re continuing to make good progress on our solutions on the island to do that, including installing water butts and creating sustainable urban drainage solutions.  

“We were delighted that so many people took the time to attend, and it also gave us an opportunity to discuss other important issues how water will be provided in the future and how we can help customers with their bills during the cost-of-living crisis.” 

Recently Southern Water extended the roll-out of water butts to Gurnard following a successful trial at Havenstreet, it also announced £4m plans to improve water quality on the island.