Action needs to be taken to prevent water supply in the South East only matching 50 per cent of demand by 2030, Southern Water has warned.
The water company, which operates throughout Sussex, cited climate change and population growth as key factors that would affect its operations in years to come.
To protect against a future shortfall, the company’s business plan for 2020-2025 outlines strategies to reduce water consumption such as encouraging the use of smart meters and reducing leakage by 15 per cent.
An introduction to the plan read: “Twenty-five years from now we will have lost a third of our water sources through climate change, seen a reduction in the amount of water we are allowed to take from rivers and underground sources, and our population will have grown by 15 per cent.
“Without action, we predict a supply and demand deficit by 2030 equivalent to around 50 per cent of our current supply.”
The company is aiming for each person in the region it supplies to use only 100 litres of water a day by 2040, down from 129 litres now.
The region is already one of the more water conservative areas; the national average for water usage per person per day is 141 litres.
In addition to the 100 litre target, Southern Water wants to install 2,500 ‘smart waterquality sensors’ by 2030. It also intends to replace 330 kilometres of water mains by 2025 to reduce leaks and replace 30 reservoirs with eight new ones.
It claims the plan will deliver an average reduction in bills of more than three per cent ‘in real terms’.
The business plan also appeals for ‘shared responsibility’ in helping maintain and improve water quality on the coast and elsewhere, with plans for it to spend £837million on environmental programmes for rivers and bathing water.
It read: “In consultation with our customers, regulators and politicians they have made it clear that they expect us to anticipate threats to a resilient water future.
“We recognise that in addition to our water utility responsibilities, we have an additional responsibility to help create an economic, environmental and socially-resilient region.
“For example, our visitor economy provides a regional gross value add of £8billion a year, much of which is down to the attraction of our coasts, beaches and other water features.
“For these reasons, in our view resilience is a shared responsibility and will require innovative and collaborative action and participation.”