Council Leaders receive assurances from Southern Water

Council leaders in Hampshire have collectively invited Southern Water to meet with them to explain how they are working to improve their services and to ensure reliable water supplies for the county’s residents

Feb 27 2024

Following a number of large-scale water disruption incidents over the past two years Hampshire County Council’s Leader, together with the Leaders of other local authorities in Hampshire, met again with the Chief Executive of Southern Water, Lawrence Gosden (Monday 26 February) - to hear what Southern Water are doing to upgrade facilities for storing and processing water, as well as how Southern Water are working to improve their emergency response when supply is affected.  
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Rob Humby, said: “In our collective role representing the interests of the people of Hampshire, it’s right that we not only hold to account any utility company that may be falling short in providing reliable services to our residents but also engage proactively with that utility company to support their improvement plans where we can.  
“We’ve had a really positive discussion today and I think we would all agree that it has given us, as council leaders, a better understanding of the factors that Southern Water must take into consideration, including the regulatory requirements, in its decision-making and the company’s practices in responding to an incident. I’m encouraged by Southern Water’s willingness to have an open dialogue and take on board our suggestions for improvement.” 
Lawrence Gosden, Chief Executive Officer of Southern Water, said: “We completely understand the concerns raised by the local authorities and I am very pleased that we had the opportunity to present, in person, our plans for doubling the level of investment to improve infrastructure and our performance for customers. While the plans are subject to approval by Ofwat, they include strengthening the resilience of our four largest water supply works which includes the Testwood reservoir.” 
Councillor Humby added: “Southern Water’s plans for improvement have given us the reassurance we were looking for. We understand that it will take time and that once all the improvements have been made, this will not completely eliminate the risk of any future incident, but we would hope it would mean such issues are rarely experienced.” 
At the meeting it was also agreed to set up further meetings between the County Council and Southern Water colleagues to further support the ongoing improvement of services to customers in Hampshire.