Water Resources and Efficiency

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section D – The Natural and Built Environment

ENV7 Water Resources and Efficiency (2016 Draft / 2017 Main Changes)

South East Water (SEW) supplies the Ashford Borough with potable water. Currently, household demand for water is a high proportion of the current effective rainfall which is available to meet demand, and as such the whole of SEW’s supply area is currently classified as ‘an area of serious water stress’

Public concern about water supply remains high. SEW forecast data shows that if the company ‘do nothing’ there will be insufficient water to meet future demand across their supply area. The SEW Water Resource Management Plan (WRMP) (2015-2040) uses a twin-track approach to managing this supply demand deficit through demand management and water resource development as without these measures and without both components of this approach in place new development may be restricted in future. However, SEW have confirmed that following sensitivity testing on housing numbers their WRMP programme will fully satisfy the growth in demands within their supply area proposed within the Ashford Local Plan.

Demand management measures include a long-term strategy to reduce water use focused on changing customer behaviour. The WRMP has a target to reduce per capita consumption of water across their supply area to 149 litres per person per day (l/p/d) by 2040. This is a reduction against the current baseline of 166 l/p/d and highlights the need for sustained water efficiency improvements. However, there is still a need for the optional requirements for water efficiency on new build. South East Water’s ‘Water Efficiency Strategy’ makes it clear that the standards for new homes are a significant part of the company’s planning for water efficiency; that new homes provide the best opportunity for providing best practice water efficiency in the most cost-effective ways; and that SEW depends on the commitment of the Borough Council to help it meet its targets. The only way, therefore, that overall water efficiency can be improved is for the optional requirement to be sought.

A range of new water resource infrastructure is being proposed to increase capacity within the WRMP some located within the Ashford Borough or adjoining local authority area. This includes a new groundwater source at Maytham Farm, Rolvenden with plans to replace non-operational works with a new treatment works (in 2020), and a new reservoir at Broad Oak near Canterbury (in 2033).

The Government updated Building Regulations Part G in 2015, introducing an ‘optional’ requirement of 110 l/p/day for new residential development, which should be implemented through local policy where there is a clearly evidenced need. The evidence and outlined in detail in the supporting Water Cycle Study clearly justifies the need for more stringent water efficiency targets for new residential development in the Borough.

Policy ENV7 – Water Efficiency

All new residential development must achieve as a minimum the optional requirement set through Building Regulations for water efficiency that requires an estimated water use of no more than 110 litres per person per day.

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