Southern Water was among organisations heavily involved in a new report commissioned by Water UK at the request of the Government to examine the risk of drought.

The report looks at the long-term resilience of water resources in England and Wales and considers a number of future scenarios – including the impact of climate change, population growth and environmental issues.

The research was carried out by independent consultants and peer reviewed by leading experts in water resources, climate change and environmental management.

It uses an innovative new technique pioneered by Southern Water that projects what droughts of the future will look like across the next 50 years.

The key findings of the report are:

• The South East is particularly at risk from longer more frequent droughts.

• Failing to take action could have a significant impact on the economy – the cost per day of a severe drought is an estimated £1.3billion per day.

• Water companies need to work together to adopt a consistent, national level of resilience.

Southern Water’s water strategy manager Meyrick Gough, who helped develop the modelling techniques used in the report, said: “We were heavily involved in this important project and welcome its findings which clearly set out the case for increased resilience in water resources to meet future growth and protect the environment.

“We are the only water company to have based our current water resources management plan on the potential droughts of the future and we strongly believe that the water industry needs to act now – and work together – in order to protect our customers.

“An extra £4 per year, the cost of a lunchtime sandwich, will be enough to meet water resource needs for the future.”

The report warns that if the country does not have a more effective solution to tackling droughts, hosepipe bans, limited availability of water and even standpipes could become a reality.

Southern Water said that steps are already being taken to try and minimise the impact of drought in the future, including:

• Working with building developers to offer incentives to introduce water-reuse methods into new homes

• Introducing water metering programme across the region – which is already helping to save over 27million litres per day.

• Proactively tackling leakage. Southern Water has the lowest leakage levels in the industry.

• Using water-based ‘catchment schemes’ integrating all the elements of the water cycle including water resources, water use and consumption across domestic, agricultural and commercial environments.

• Planning its first water desalination plant for 2028

• Working to find ways of transferring water from different areas of the country and different water providers in times of water shortage.

To read the report, please go to: