Every 5 years Affinity Water has to produce a Water Resources Management Plan. Their latest draft for 2020-2025 was released for public consultation in March with the deadline for responses 23rd May 2018.
We would be pleased if you respond. We would be even more delighted if you would write to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment – details of how to send your response are on Affinity’s page as per the link above.
The Ver Valley Society committee considers that the future health of the River Ver requires more than Affinity is offering, indeed is probably able to offer. Faced with a rising population in the South East and with substantial housing development looming, we believe more significant changes are needed and sooner rather than later.
There are three key aspects that you might like to use to help frame your response to the Secretary of State:
- End the over-reliance on groundwater. Affinity’s plans suggest that in the next 5 years, and for the foreseeable future, abstraction of groundwater remains the cornerstone of their water supply. Should a drought be declared, the solution to the problem is the issue of permits that will allow even more groundwater to be taken from the chalk. I consider that the magnitude of the challenge in the South East requires a co-ordinated regional approach to water, including investment in significant infrastructure projects.
- Keep Affinity on target and hold them to account. Affinity has bold plans to balance supply and demand which include optimistic targets. The company is projecting a fall in demand for water over the next 5 years. It feels consumer education, an ambitious leak reduction programme and the roll out of water meters – will deliver the significant savings required to balance supply and demand.It is difficult to have complete confidence in these assertions. I call upon government and its regulators to scrutinise Affinity’s projections in detail, rigorously police them and impose suitable penalties should they prove wide of the mark.
- Ensure Abingdon Reservoir is built. Looking further ahead, Thames Water is considering building a reservoir near Abingdon. This would mean 100 million litres of water being available daily to Affinity, whose future plans hinge on it. Please bring all pressure to bear to remove any uncertainty and guarantee that the Abingdon Reservoir is built with work starting as soon as possible.