I met with Katy Taylor, Chief Customer Officer at Southern Water's headquarters here in Worthing, to discuss resilience planning and to see their response room.
This came as part of ongoing work to address the severe concerns with storm-overflow in Worthing, Arun and across the UK. We must focus on this year-round, not just when it becomes an issue most acutely during the summer 'bathing' months.
We share an interest in avoiding simple and common issues, encouraging proactive preventative work, creating an appropriate regulatory regime and encouraging better customer and community relations.
The widespread flooding five years ago remains a constant concern of many. Simple but vital precautions must be taken to ensure that critical infrastructure is protected.
It is encouraging to hear about the extra monitoring, control systems and management put into the pumping station network to prevent future issues on the scale of last summer.
The challenge with surface water removal and storm overflow continues.
We recognise the need for greater cooperation between our local councils and utility services.
Planning matters: many small changes have a compound effect on big issues. Paving over front lawns, leaving brooks overgrown and building across our green fields all worsen the issues of storm overflow and sewage flow into our bathing waters.
Let us do what is necessary, across all levels of government and industry, to better protect our bathing waters and aquatic environments.
It is also good to hear that Southern Water will be raising their social tariff to better support those most struggling with the cost of living crisis. Such information will be gladly included when speaking with vulnerable community members.