WaterFit: Protecting rivers and seas together
The South West is a region which is renowned for its natural environment, not least its beautiful rivers and 860 miles of coastline. As the water and wastewater service provider for the region I know we have a responsibility to look after the places our customers love, now and for future generations.
Over the past six months we have been listening closely to our customers and it is clear that they want us to go further and faster in protecting and enhancing our rivers and seas.
"WaterFit outlines how we will protect our region’s rivers and seas, together. This is not about broad pledges or public relations; this is about delivering a tangible step change in performance backed up by credible plans and increased investment, with the support of all our talented employees.
We have already been making strong progress. I’m proud that for the first time ever, this year we achieved 100% bathing water quality right across the region, with 98% rated ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Last year also saw the publication of our Green Recovery Plan which outlines the steps we are taking to make an even bigger societal contribution. Alongside this, we published our Net Zero Plan to reduce our operational carbon emissions and hit net zero by 2030.
Despite these positive steps, I acknowledge we need to do more. I’m proud to call the South West home and as a keen paddle boarder I recognise that water based recreation has become even more popular over recent years, and the pandemic has strengthened the bond we all have with our environment, so now is the time for a step change.
We are accelerating our plans for better river and coastal water quality across our region with WaterFit – going further and faster for the benefit of all."
Susan Davy, CEO at South West Water
What are we doing?
We've committed to reduce our impact on our region's rivers by one third by 2025 and going further still, we plan to target zero impact by 2030. On top of this, we will reduce spills from storm overflows to an average of 20 per year by 2025 and deliver zero serious pollutions by 2025.
But we know we cannot achieve this alone. Our action will be supported by our ongoing work with local partners to stop pollutants from regional farmland getting into rivers and seas.
We'll also continue working with our 10 million visitors and 2.3 million customers, so that they understand the important role they play in protecting our region, through considering what they flush and helping us prevent millions of unflushables such as wet wipes entering our systems and causing blockages which harm the environment.
We're targeting a step change in our environmental performance to deliver the change we all want to see. This won’t happen overnight, it will take time, and we will be open and transparent about the progress we are making to ensure the South West remains a fantastic place to live, work and visit for generations to come.
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