River Severn to River Severn Transfer (SST) – Strategic Water Source Solution


© Robert Bromberg Photography. Photo kindly provided and used with permission from Robert Bromberg. All rights reserved.

A meeting had taken place with Mark Mathews. Severn Thames Transfer Engagement Manager along with the Chairman and Councillors Pollard and Rutter.  The main concepts were outlined however the project is so far down the queue that may take a long time to come about.

Mark Matthews emailed on the 2 June :

It was great to meet you in person on Wednesday, and to provide you with a brief summary of the Severn Thames Transfer (STT) project.

As I touched upon at the start of our meeting, the scale of the water resources challenge in the UK means water companies need to take a strategic approach to planning our future water supply. Thames Water have been working closely with other water companies to look at options that could provide a large volume of water for more than one water company to use. These options are called strategic resource options (SROs), of which Severn Thames Transfer is one of them, alongside other potential solutions including, water recycling and  new reservoirs.

As discussed at the meeting, the need for the project is being considered at the regional water resource planning level, by Water Resources South East (WRSE). WRSE is an alliance of the six water companies that cover the South East region of England. Their aim is to secure the water supply for future generations through a collaborative, regional approach to managing water resources. WRSE work closely with Water Resources West (WRW), which consider water resource needs for the west of England. WRW includes Severn Trent and United Utilities.

The draft WRSE regional plan was published late last year, STT was set out within the preferred plan as being required by 2050. However, this is currently under review and we are awaiting for a date to be agreed when the updates to the WRSE regional plan and water company Water Resource Management Plans (WRMPs) are to be published. As mentioned in our meeting, Thames Water’ draft Water Resources Management Plan 2024 (WRMP24) reflects the WRSE draft South East regional plan, and it sets out how Thames Water will manage water resources over the next 50 years, looking ahead to 2075. This includes significant demand management (reducing leaks, water efficiency), alongside new water resources, including a reservoir in Oxfordshire, followed by STT.

We originally expected the water companies in the South East, including Thames Water, to publish their Statement of Response on their draft WRMPs on June 13, alongside an update to the WRSE regional plan. However, and as explained on Wednesday, this date is unlikely to be met as the WRSE team are having to undertake analysis of additional information, and a new date for publication is yet to be confirmed by the water companies. As soon as I have an update on timescales I will let you know.

In the meantime I have listed below links to relevant documents on STT in the public domain that you may find of use.

  • Link to an explanation of the different Thames Water strategic resource options being considered

https://www.thameswater.co.uk/about-us/regulation/strategic-water-resource-solutions

  • Link to summary of STT, including all the RAPID reports (Gate 1 and Gate 2 for STT)

https://www.thameswater.co.uk/about-us/regulation/strategic-water-resource-solutions/water-transfer-from-the-river-severn-to-the-river-thames

  • Link to the STT Gate 2 Cost Report (which John specifically askes for)

https://www.thameswater.co.uk/media-library/home/about-us/regulation/regional-water-resources/water-transfer-from-the-river-severn-to-the-river-thames/gate-2-reports/STT-G2-S3-357-STT-Cost-Report.pdf

  • Link to Water Resources South East website where you can find a copy of the draft WRSE regional plan

https://www.wrse.org.uk/

  • Link to Thames Water water resources webpage where you can find a copy of the draft Thames Water WRMP

https://www.thameswater.co.uk/about-us/regulation/water-resources

This was followed up by another email dated 12 June:

Further to my email from the 2nd June I wanted to update you on the date for the publication of the Water Resources South East (WRSE) Regional Plan and the Thames Water Water Resource Management Plan (WRMP) Statement of Response and updated draft Plan.

As discussed at our earlier meeting, the need for the Severn Thames Transfer is being considered at the regional water resource planning level, led by WRSE. We are continuing to work closely with Water Resources South East and the other South East water companies as the Thames Water draft WRMP is revised. This includes incorporating updated information about individual schemes such as costs, delivery dates and environmental information.

To allow for the completion of the technical work for the regional plan, WRSE and the South East water companies (including Thames Water) have received agreement from Defra to delay the publication of these plans until the end of August. All the South East water companies, including Thames Water will move to this timeline, to ensure the plans are consistent and can be reviewed together.

We appreciate that people are keen to see the next version of the draft Thames Water WRMP and WRSE Regional Plan. However, it is vital that this next phase of work is carried out thoroughly and uses the most up-to-date information to ensure the plans remains robust and evidence-based.

We look forward to sharing the documents with you at the end of the summer. 

I thought it would also be helpful to update you on the Severn Trent Water WRMP Statement of Response. This is due to be published later in June (expected around the 21 June), and I will update you again when their Statement of Response has been published.