Southern Water is marking World Earth Day (Thursday 22 April) by announcing its move to a new 100% renewable energy tariff provided by SSE Business Energy, as part of its commitment to being net zero by 2030.
Treating and pumping water and wastewater across parts of Kent, Hampshire, Sussex and the Isle of Wight is an energy-intensive process and by committing to buying green power only, Southern Water will reduce its carbon footprint by around half.
The announcement comes as the company confirms it is on track to meet its commitment to be net zero by 2030, in line with the Water UK Public Interest Commitment target for emissions associated with running its operations for its customers. Southern Water plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions through efficiencies, increased renewable power generation and developing lower carbon solutions. It will be publishing its Net Zero Plan in the summer, laying out a clear roadmap for the changes needed in the next nine years and beyond.
Dr Alison Hoyle is Southern Water’s Director of Risk and Compliance and leads the team that developed the Net Zero Plan. She said: “Southern Water has a huge level of ambition and commitment to creating an environmentally friendly yet resilient water future for the South East of England.
“Buying our energy from green suppliers is just the start of our commitment to achieving net zero by 2030. Over the next four years we will be rolling out some of our largest ever programmes and spending hundreds of millions of pounds on schemes which directly benefit the environment; such as supporting The Water Industry National Environment Programme, reducing flood risk, re-naturalisation of rivers, reducing water usage, and solar power installations.”
The company is also investing in some important capital investment projects across the region. In Hampshire work is underway to deliver its Water for Life Hampshire programme. Designed to protect the vital habitats of the Test and Itchen rivers and ensure supplies of wholesome drinking water to its customers for generations to come, it is the largest ever water resources programme in UK industry history.
In Kent and Sussex, vital work to remove nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates from wastewater is taking place. This will directly contribute towards improving water quality and reducing the damage caused to rivers and wetlands by these compounds.
Nikki Flanders, SSE Energy Customer Solutions Managing Director, looks forward to working with Southern Water on their journey to net zero. She said: “At SSE Business Energy we are committed to working with our customers to power change, supporting the imperative of decarbonising Britain. We firmly believe that investing in low-carbon solutions is a win-win for businesses and our planet. We’re looking forward to working together with Southern Water and their team to provide green solutions that support their net zero ambitions.”
Dr Hoyle adds: “We are wholeheartedly committed to protecting the environment, lessening our impact and hitting the target of being net zero by 2030.
“World Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to put water at the forefront of peoples’ minds. While there is growing and widespread awareness of the need to save energy, recycling, plastic waste and carbon emissions, water often seems to get overlooked. As a natural resource and combined with the challenges of population growth and climate change, it is important to recognise how precious it really is.
“Our treatment processes are energy-intensive but there are simple steps we can all take every day to consciously start reducing our consumption. Recycling washing-up and bath water for watering the garden, using water butts to collect and store rainwater, using the short flush on the toilet, taking shorter showers and water-efficient programmes on dishwashers and washing machines will all make a difference. It may also help to save money on future water and energy bills, so saving water makes sense for your wallet as well as the environment.”