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Southern Water delivers against customer and environmental goals six months into Turnaround Plan

Southern Water has published a six-month update on its Turnaround Plan, which was launched by the business in May 2023.

  • Southern Water launched its Turnaround Plan in May to deliver a short sharp ambitious improvement by 2025, with a particular focus on our environmental performance.  
  • We have upgraded treatment centres and pumping stations, improved and enhanced our monitors and leak prevention initiatives, invested in our customer service offering, and made significant strides in our health and safety practices.  
  • Our Plan is underpinned by a record £3 billion investment between 2020 and 2025, equivalent to investing £1,500 per household in the company’s catchment area. 
  • We have the full support of our majority shareholder, Macquarie Asset Management, which has invested over £1.5 billion to ensure we deliver. 
  • Our next six-month update on this Plan will be published in May 2024. 

Southern Water has published a six-month update on its Turnaround Plan, which was launched by the business in May 2023. The Plan focuses on ensuring a reliable supply of water for customers; protecting and improving the health of rivers and seas by building capacity and resilience at waste-water treatment works and the sewer network; making customer service easy and trusted; and becoming an industry-leader in health and safety. 

We are seeing positive early results of our efforts across the different priority areas.  

  1. Providing a reliable supply of high-quality water to our customers. We have doubled the volume of water treated at 20 of our sites and begun delivery of our £150 million investment to support upgrades at our Otterbourne and Burham water supply works. We have installed over 7,500 acoustic loggers on our networks – so we can better locate leaks by monitoring characteristic noise waves – and implemented efficiencies to prioritise the most impactful repairs. On water saving initiatives, we have saved over 1.5 megalitres daily and begun developing our smart metering programme which will allow our customers to track their water use in real time.
  2. Improving the health of rivers and seas. We are halfway through upgrades to pumping stations having completed work at 52 of our stations to improve resilience. Our sewer cleaning programme is on track, we have installed 23,000 sewer monitors, and we are 85% towards our goal of using tools to predict blockages and reducing flooding incidents. By the end of this year, we will have 100% coverage of Event Duration Monitors operational across our outfalls. Overall, our Turnaround Plan will see us reduce pollutions by 79%. Earlier this month we published our £1.5bn Clean Rivers and Seas Plan which sets out how we will tackle the remaining storm overflows that need attention in our region. 
  3. Providing a trusted and easy customer service. Complaints are now 29% lower than they were in the first quarter of 2023. Our new website will launch in the new year making it much more user friendly. Our video triage for booking of appointments is now in place, and we have ramped up our support for vulnerable customers. We are also investing in training to upskill our employees so that they are better informed to handle customer inquiries.
  4. Strengthen approach to health and safety. Our focus on improving our internal health and safety processes has delivered a threefold increase in the number of hazards now reported (c.900), with our new risk software allowing teams to better capture evidence out in the field. Our new Health and Safety Policy has been issued, which has resulted in a renewed focus on health and safety, with lost time incidents reducing by 20% over the past year. 

The plan is underpinned by £3 billion of investment between 2020-2025, equating to spending of £1,500 per household across our region. We have the full support of our majority shareholder, Macquarie Asset Management, which has invested over £1.5 billion to ensure we deliver, and not taken a dividend since 2017. 

Lawrence Gosden, Southern Water’s CEO, said:  

“We launched our Turnaround Plan in May with the focus on delivering against four clear outcomes.  I’m pleased to say we’re making significant progress on improving our service to customers and our environmental performance.

"Alongside operational improvements, we’ve improved transparency and embedded a new culture centred around a Code of Ethics which is now driving our day-to-day decision-making. We know our Plan is ambitious and we still have much to do, but we promise to keep building and delivering with this momentum to achieve our targets. We will provide a further update in May 2024 to keep all our stakeholders updated.” 

Further information on our Turnaround Plan can be found online

Also today, we have published our Interim Financial Information and Report for the six months up until 30 September 2023. This is also available on our website