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South West Water takes major step in controlling bursts and reducing service interruptions

10th October 2019

South West Water has become the first UK water company to become self-sufficient in installing Advanced Valve Technologies’ (AVT) EZ Valve™ kits, acquiring new equipment and expertise to help control burst situations and reduce service interruptions to customers.

The acquisition of these kits from AVT’s UK distributor, R2M Ltd, means South West Water operatives have the ability to quickly install valves using their own resources.

In 2018/19 South West Water reduced the overall duration of any interruptions to customer supplies, beating its target for average duration of interruptions per property and achieving its best ever performance in this area. This was despite a 40% increase in the number of mains bursts during the summer due to ground movement arising from the prolonged dry period.

Recognising customers’ priorities, the company is focused on delivering further improvements in this area, particularly given the challenging targets it has set itself for the 2020-25 period. Improvements include the establishment of an enhanced monitoring centre, expanding the company’s fleet of alternative water supply vehicles and operatives and increasing the use of business intelligence software using network data to provide further insight.

While leaks and bursts are inevitable, the AVT EZ Valve system will enable South West Water to repair damaged pipes without shutting off the water supply and interrupting service to customers. The innovative system is designed with a built-in isolation gate that allows the valve to be installed under pressure in challenging conditions and enables faster restoration than alternative solutions.

South West Water’s Director of Networks, Mark Hillson, said: “We were eager to have access to the specialised kits so we could begin installing the valves ourselves. With the exceptional training our field teams have received, we’re now in a position to act much more quickly to emergency situations and will be better able to manage burst situations to offer even more reliable service and keep customers in supply.

“We’ll also utilise the equipment to reduce the impact of planned work on our customers. Where it’s not possible to use other alternative water supply mitigation options, such as one of our fleet of newly acquired tankers, we’ll use the EZ Valve kit to install additional isolation points and minimise the area impacted by any such activities.

“As part of our PR19 process we spent a lot of time talking to customers. It’s clear that a safe and reliable supply of drinking water remains their number one priority. As an organisation we absolutely recognise the importance to customers and the local economy of keeping supplies on, whatever the circumstances. We’ve learned from recent extreme weather events, such as the Beast from the East, and have responded by investing in the people, skills and equipment that will help us achieve our ultimate aim of zero interruptions.”

For further information please contact:

South West Water