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Supply meets demand

In the final stages of delivering a £28 million resilience scheme for Grafham Water Treatment Works
Formed a new Strategic Planning team to collaborate with planners, regulators and others to meet future demand and ensure that growth is manageable and sustainable

Our services play a key role in enabling the growth of our region and we need to meet the increasing demand for water and water recycling that growth brings. We also operate in an area of water stress that contains many wetland and conservation sites of national and international importance. To meet the needs of customers and the environment, we are continually planning and investing to maintain the balance between supply and demand.

Our investment programme includes large, strategic schemes, as well as those that improve water quality and the connectivity and resilience of our network. We are also working to improve the resilience of supplies, to ensure the majority of people can be supplied from more than one source.

We are currently preparing our draft 2019 Water Resource Management Plan (WRMP), which will describe our plans for maintaining the supply–demand balance over the next 25 years, including the measures needed to secure reliable, sustainable and affordable supplies for customers and business. Preparation of the draft plan is being supported by work with the Water Resources East project (WRE). Set up by Anglian Water, the WRE brings together all the area's water companies with farmers, conservationists and regulators. Its aim is to develop a strategy to secure long-term water supplies for water companies, agriculture, the environment and the energy generation sector.

We wanted to see the same collaborative, multi-sector approach adopted on a national scale. This led us to take the leading role in a major project, undertaking research into the resilience of water supplies over the next 50 years. The resulting document – the Water Resources Long-Term Planning Framework – was published in September 2016 and set out options for maintaining resilient and affordable water supplies in the face of the growing risk of drought in England and Wales. It has been well received, with its findings widely used and referred to in a number of high-profile documents, including Defra's Strategic Priorities Statement, published in April 2017.

For water recycling, our supply–demand investment programme includes work with partners to deliver water quality improvements and reduce flood risk. To keep pace with growth in the medium term, we are increasing capacity at our water recycling centres and expanding our sewerage system. At the same time, we are developing a Water Recycling Long-Term Plan, to better understand the investment that will be needed to mitigate the risks posed by climate change, severe flooding and strategic growth.

Our region is already the fastest growing outside of London. We have a statutory duty to provide water and water recycling services to new homes and businesses. To better meet this challenge, we have formed a new Strategic Planning team, bringing together legal and planning expertise. The team will work closely with local planning authorities, developers, the Environment Agency and others to make sure we can meet future demand and ensure that growth is both manageable and sustainable.

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Construction of storage reservoir as part of the Grafham Water resilience scheme