ESW Revised draft Water Resources Management Plan 2024

Our Water Resource Management Plan (WRMP) is updated every five years


Our next WRMP, known as WRMP24, sets out how we will make sure we can continue to deliver clean, clear drinking water to our customers and businesses over the next 25 years and beyond, even in the most extreme of droughts, while protecting and enhancing the environment.


Our draft WRMP24


We developed our draft WRMP24 between April 2020 and October 2022 taking account of:

  • pre-consultation feedback from regulators; and
  • feedback received during and following a pre-consultation webinar in January 2022 where we shared our initial baseline supply demand balance position, the planning assumptions used in developing the forecasts, and our ambition to reduce leakage and customer demand (Per Capita Consumption or PCC).


We submitted our draft WRMP24 to Defra on 3 October 2022 and then invited statutory consultees, our customers, and other interested stakeholders to comment on it.  The consultation took place over a 12-week period between 21 December 2022 and 29 March 2023.  In sharing these plans in draft form, we hoped to get as many views from our customers and stakeholders as possible to help develop our final plan.


We asked consultees to share their views on our dWRMP24 including those on:

  • Our projections of future water needs including those of our customers, businesses and the environment; and
  • Our preferred plan including:
  • Our demand management strategies to reduce leakage by 40% by 2049/50, to compulsory meter by 2035, for all meters to be smart meters by 2035, and our water efficiency programmes to reduce per capita consumption to 110l/head/day by 2050; and
  • Our supply side options including our approach to continue with detailed design for both the Lowestoft Water Reuse and North Suffolk Reservoir Options and to have an adaptive pathway which would allow us to develop the North Suffolk Reservoir first if it becomes the Best Value Option.


Consultees were asked to send their feedback on our dWRMP24 to the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs which were then made available to us at the end of the consultation period. Following the consultation, we have reviewed the feedback we received and published our Statement of Response on Friday 25 August 2023. Our Statement of Response (see downloadable content below) describes: 

  • our consideration of the consultation responses; and
  • the changes we have made to the dWRMP24 as a result of the consultation responses and the reasons for doing so, and where no change has been made to the dWRMP24 the reasons for this.


Our revised draft WRMP24


In line with our consultation statement of response, we have prepared a revised draft WRMP24.  Our revised draft Plan continues to focus on:


  • Demand Management:
    • Leakage reduction:
      • Leakage from our mains water network is already one of the lowest in the country.  However, we recognise we need to do more and our WRMP24 plans to reduce leakage by a further 40% by 2050.
    • Metering:
      • The majority (nearly 70%) of our customers already have a water meter and are charged for how much water they use.  As our region is a serious water stressed area we are planning for all customers to be metered by 2030 in our Suffolk Supply area and by 2035 in our Essex supply area.
      • We are planning for all household and non-household meters to be smart meters by 2035, similar to the ones used for electricity and gas. They will allow our customers to make more informed choices about how they use water. They will also help to identify when they might have a leaking pipe or toilet and will help us support customers who use high levels of water become more water efficient.
    • Water Efficiency:
      • We are proud of our award-winning water efficiency programmes. These have included our Water’s Worth Saving home visits, The Ripple Effect educational resources for children and our Leaky Loos programme which repairs leaking toilets of customers for free. We plan to upscale this important work from 2025 to help our customers and businesses use less water.
      • The demand savings from our planned water efficiency and metering programmes will enable us to meet national targets for water consumption:
        • Household Per Capita Consumption: 122 litres per person per day by 2038 and 110 litres per person per day by 2050
        • Non-household consumption: 9% reduction in demand by 2038
  • New water supply schemes
    • Planned water supply schemes include, among others, new strategic pipelines, water reuse schemes and winter storage reservoirs in Suffolk and a new groundwater water treatment works in South Essex.
  • Protecting and enhancing the environment
    • We want the best outcome for the environment.  We have just completed a comprehensive series of abstraction sustainability investigations. We have agreed with the Environment Agency that where the amount of water our abstraction licences permits us to abstract each year (the annual licensed quantity) is not sustainable, we will reduce the annual licensed quantity to an agreed lower level and our plans are made on this basis.


You can read more about the demand management and new supply schemes that we plan to deliver in our non-technical summary. 


Our revised draft WRMP24 documents are below for review. We are planning to publish our revised draft WRMP24 Environmental Report by 30 September 2023.

Next steps

We will publish our final WRMP24 on our website ( once it has been approved by Defra which we envisage will be in late 2023 / early 2024.