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Southern Water publishes 50 year plan as it faces up to ‘Jaws of Death’

It has taken them four years of planning but yesterday Southern Water published their plan of action to tackle environmental issues and solutions for drinking water.

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Using the words ‘Jaws of Death’ was always going to be concerning rhetoric when the Environment Agency Chief Executive Sir James Bevan made a speech earlier this year.

He was referring to the problems for water supply due to climate change and the ever increasing population growth.

But Southern Water has stepped forward and embraced the warning.

“Our analysis shows this is no exaggeration – the jaws of death are closing and when the teeth meet, it is this part of the country that will feel the bite.” says Nicholas Price, water resource planning manager at Southern Water.

But has it really come to this? Are we really in such a dramatic situation?

Price continues:

“With the UN’s COP25 meeting on climate change taking place in Madrid this week, the UN general secretary is warning that the point of no return is approaching.

Everything we do to our environment has to be considered in that light – local problems are part of a global problem.”

Price says that there is no single solution to ensuring tap water keeps flowing.

“Staying resilient is about behaviour change and looking after the resources we currently have as much as it is about us building new resources. We are committing to cutting leakage in half by 2050 and we are asking our customers to use water wisely. Every drop humans take out from the environment means less for nature,” he says.

An immediate challenge is faced in Hampshire where less water will be taken from the iconic chalk Test and Itchen river systems, especially when flows drop in summer or following a dry autumn and winter.

A ten year £800 million plan will see a raft of new measures including a reservoir to be built in collaboration with Portsmouth Water and in its supply area, pipelines across the region so we can move water about and a link to Bournemouth Water for a bulk supply.

Southern Water are also looking at building desalination plants and recycling water in the future.

Solutions such as desalination and water recycling plants may also be necessary in many other parts of our region.

Says Price: “There is no magic bullet for securing new water supplies – every alternative has its own environmental impacts. The most important thing is working together – us, our customers and neighbouring water companies must collaborate to ensure the environment thrives and taps keep flowing.”

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Safety warning calls after two washing fires including one in Southgate, Crawley

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Firefighters are reminding householders of some simple safety steps when using electrical appliances such as tumble dryers and washing machines.

It follows two incidents in two days.

In the first incident firefighters were called after a pile of folded washing caught fire after being tumble-dried over the weekend.

A crew from Bognor Regis Fire Station was mobilised at 01.56am on Saturday to reports of a fire in a home on Lion Road in Pagham.

Upon arrival, firefighters found the property was heavily smoked logged, but thanks to a working smoke alarm, the three occupants had been alerted and had been able to escape from the property.

The fire started after the home owner had washed and tumble-dried some towels earlier on in the evening. These were then stacked and put in a hessian type bag in the hallway. But in the early hours of the morning, the towels, which had self-heated, began to smoke and caught fire. Fortunately, the homeowner had a working smoke alarm.

Crews removed the towels to fresh air and extinguished them.

In the second incident  at 4.10pm on Sunday, firefighters were called to a washing machine fire in a first floor flat in Imperial Mews. Two appliances from Crawley and a Surrey Fire & Rescue Service crew from Salfords were mobilised. On arrival, firefighters wearing two sets of breathing apparatus extinguished the fire using a hose reel and a CO2 extinguisher.

The fire damaged washing machine was removed from the property. Nobody was injured during the incident, but the property sustained smoke damage which meant the resident needed alternative accommodation for the night.

Simon Foster, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Performance Risk and Improvement Team Group Manager said:

“At this time of year, people are using their tumble dryers far more than at other times of the year.

“When taking clothes out of the tumble dryer, make sure you wait for laundry to cool down before putting it away. Oil residue and oxygenating chemicals from stain removing detergents can create a chemical reaction causing items like tea towels to self-heat, smoulder and could catch fire.

“Once clothes have cooled down, make sure you store them in a well-ventilated area.”  

The fire service is reminding people of the following safety tips when using electrical appliances:

•Look out for product recall notices.

•Register your appliance – appliances up to 12 years old can be registered on the Register My Appliance website.

•Don’t run appliances such as tumble dryers, washing machines or dishwashers overnight or when you are out.

•Always read the manufacturer’s instructions.

•Have your appliance serviced by a qualified engineer.

•Do not put rags or materials into a tumble dryer if they have been used to soak up flammable liquids. You can find out more about home fire safety by visiting the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service website here: https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire-emergencies-and-crime/west-sussex-fire-and-rescue-service/home-fire-safety/electrical-and-heating-appliance-safety-advice/

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