Ahead of our WWT Water Security in a Changing Environment 2020 we asked Ben Earl, Head of water efficiency at Southern Water the below questions, see what he had to say…
Q. You are speaking at the WWT Water Security in a Changing Environment 2020 Conference, what can the audience expect to learn from your contribution?
I hope that the audience will get a real understanding of the approach Southern Water is taking to respond to the huge challenges posed within our part of the ‘water stressed’ South East. I will explore the circumstances that are driving these challenges; look at the policy changes we are pushing; the strategy we are pursuing and outline the four pillars of our Target 100 programme – the UKs most ambitious water saving programme which is at the heart of our response.
Q. How is the industry responding to the climate crisis? What more needs to be done?
Water companies have a huge role to play, and aren’t shying away from our responsibilities. The sector has committed to reducing leakage by 15% over the next five years – with many companies going further. Southern Water is committed to an industry-leading programme, Target 100. Designed to support, educate and incentivise our customers to reduce average personal use to 100 litres per person per day by 2040 this is a programme with massive ambition. It builds on our industry-first universal metering programme which helped our customers reduce their consumption by over 16% and means they’re consistently amongst the most water efficient in the country.
Q. Which industry developments in the environmental space are you most excited about at the moment?
One of the biggest and easiest wins for society would be the introduction of a universal water label on all water using products. This will not only help visibility of the importance of water, but will also give a simple ‘nudge’ to a consumer to understand how efficient a particular product is when it is commonly used in the home or garden. The water companies recently commissioned an independent review of water labelling, using examples from all round the world to produce a report of evidence for all the types of model that exist; from compulsory labelling through to voluntary labelling to produce a report which is now in front of government.
Q. What are you most looking forward to hearing about at the event?
I am looking forward to hearing how companies are working together to solve complex cross-boundary issues. Working with our neighbouring South East water companies has been a rewarding experience that is helping to cut costs and increase success rates. Working differently with stakeholder groups is also changing the face of the water industry – Southern Water recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with all our River Trusts to deliver more in partnership in a co-joined way.