Agenda and minutes

Kent Flood Risk Management Committee - Monday, 5th March, 2018 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Andrew Tait  03000 416749


No. Item


Minutes of the meeting on 13 November 2017 pdf icon PDF 113 KB

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RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 13 November 2017 are correctly recorded and that they be signed by the Chairman.  


An Overview of River Basin Management Plans and related issues covering Kent: Presentation by Environment Agency Groundwater and Hydrology Team pdf icon PDF 75 KB

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The Chairman informed the Committee that Mr Ian Murrell from the Environment had been forced to send his apologies due to the urgent need to respond to problems arising from the current thaw, following the recent heavy snowfall.


South East Water's Water Resources Management Plan and Drought Plan - Presentation by Lee Dance, Head of Water Resources South East Water pdf icon PDF 58 KB

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(1)       Lee Dance, Head of Water Resources at South East Water gave a presentation. The accompanying slides are contained within the electronic agenda papers on the KCC website. 


(2)       Mr Dance began his presentation by saying that South East Water had a statutory duty to prepare a Water Resources Management Plan and a Drought Plan at least once every five years.  The consultation draft of the 2019 Water Resources Management Plan had recently been published. It would cover a period of sixty years, instead of the usual 25 years.


(3)       Mr Dance said that South East Water supplied 2.2m customers and that its supply area was divided into a western region in Hampshire and Berkshire, and an eastern region in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.   South East Water was not the sole water supplier in these counties.  It was in fact part of a patchwork of companies carrying out this role.  Affinity Water was the supplier in South Kent, and Southern Water supplied the Medway Towns.  


(4)       South East Water supplied about 520 m litres of water every day, increasing to over 650m litres per day in hot dry periods.  This water came from groundwater sources (73%), surface water (19%) and neighbouring companies (8%).  The latter statistic was the largest for any water company in the UK, demonstrating good integrated working with its neighbours.


(5)       Mr Dance then gave a breakdown of water resources in various parts of Kent. In Ashford, 100% was supplied by 16 groundwater sources. In Maidstone, 12% came from Bewl Water which was owned by Southern Water.   The remainder (78%) came from groundwater.   In Cranbrook there was an even split between Bewl Water (49%) and groundwater sources (51%).  Tunbridge Wells was 100% groundwater dominated.


(6)       Mr Dance moved on to describe the creation of the draft Water Resources Management Plan.  This had been developed according to set guidelines from the environmental and economic regulators (Environment Agency and Ofwat).  The draft Plan explained the chosen methodology and had been prepared with input from customers, communities, other water providers and stakeholders.


(7)       The challenges addressed in the document took account of future population and housing growth as well as uncertainty around climate change impacts in an area classified by Defra as “serious water stress.”  The Plan also focussed to a far greater extent than before on water resilience.  It aimed to increase affordability by sharing resources with other companies, and considered improving environmental resilience through catchment management and other measures.


(8)        Mr Dance then described South East Water’s achievements since the production of the 2014 Plan.  He showed a slide which demonstrated how water leakage had been reduced through investment in new technology and reduced repair times.   Over the past three years it had reduced from @ Ml per day to some 88 Ml/d, exceeding the set reduction target. 


(9)       Mr Dance said that water efficiency had been improved through a compulsory metering programme over the previous 8 years, aiming to achieve metering of 90% of customers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Flood and Water Management Team activities and projects to deliver improved water management pdf icon PDF 83 KB

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(1)       Mr Turner introduced himself as KCC’s Water Resource Manager within the Flood and Water Management Team – Spatial Planning and Policy Unit.  The slides of his presentation are contained within the electronic agenda papers on the KCC website. 


(2)       Mr Turner said that his team maintained a high level overview of Kent’s 5 water companies: South East Water, Affinity Water, Southern Water, Thames Water and Southern and East Surrey Water.   It also maintained an overview of some of the broader issues such as population growth, climate change, infrastructure provision, and environmental constraints.  Some of this was done through the Kent and Medway Infrastructure Framework which set out the infrastructure requirements to meet future growth and also provided detailed demographic information such as population change, household occupancy trends and age distribution.  This information was made available to a large number of utility providers for use in infrastructure planning.


(3)       Mr Turner then said that infrastructure growth did not necessarily mean an increase in water demand.   To illustrate this point, he displayed a graph produced by Southern Water showing how much water they were putting into their network on a daily basis between 1961 and 2015.   The graph peaked in 1989/90 when the water industry was privatised (leading to capital investment in control of leakage) and then reduced by some 25%.   The reasons for the continuing reduction were continued leakage reduction, the decline in industrial demand and metering programmes which had led to greater water use efficiency.   The other water companies had experienced a similar trend. 


(4)       Mr Turner said national sources of information also contributed to his work.  The Water Resources Long Term Planning Framework 2015 – 2065 had been commissioned by Defra and published by Water UK in 2016.  This study took a long term approach and considered the changing pressures on water resources, including more severe drought conditions which could arise beyond what had happened historically, whist assessing a number of measures that could strengthen resilience. It had also made high level recommendations on water resources management.    


(5)       The Water Resources Long Term Planning Framework 2015 – 2065 had analysed a number of future scenarios for population growth and water demand. Its recommendations focussed strongly on water demand management, new resources and regional transfers from areas that had a surplus to those that did not. 


(6)       The Flood and Water Management Team also conducted more local specialised analysis such as the Kent Water for Sustainable Growth Study.  This study had looked at water supply and demand issues up to 2031 and examined the scope for water neutrality (e.g. compensating for the increase in water usage arising from new homes by reducing water usage in neighbouring homes).  It had also assessed the potential around Waste Water Treatment Works.   The Study had concluded that the water companies’ current Water Resource Management Plans had been produced before the housing growth projections had significantly increased.  This meant that the supply would need to accommodate these new projections. The Team would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Environment Agency and Met Office Alerts and Warnings and KCC Flood Response activity since the last meeting pdf icon PDF 75 KB

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(1)       Mr Harwood tabled an update sheet incorporating the recent snow and cold weather events and response. 


(2)       Mr Harwood said that KCC, its Boroughs Districts, the emergency services and other partners had risen to the challenge and were widely acknowledged to have responded very effectively. 


(3)       Mr Harwood drew particular attention to the Severe Weather Advisory Group which had operated between 23 and 27 February.  He said that it had been initiated by KCC following early warnings by the Met Office.  This had enabled staff resources and infrastructure to be put in place, particularly the shifts, gritting and 4x4 resources that were to be essential for the coming response. 


(4)       Mr Harwood then said that Kent had now moved to the recovery phase for most of the County, although there were still a number of areas that were without water and still urgently required operational response activity. 


(5)       Messages had been sent out and constantly updated during the severe weather week using the Kent Snow#, which had been looked at by at least 1.8m different people.   Public messaging had been very pro-active and had evolved with and sometimes led the news agenda.  For example, early on there had been a strong focus on asking people to look out for their neighbours and vulnerable people during the heavy snowfall.  The same message had been heavily promoted on both local and national TV.   The messaging focus had then switched to driver behaviour once the weather broke and motorists started getting back in their cars whilst roads were still potentially icy and hazardous. 


(6)       Mr Harwood said that a lot of work was now being undertaken with the water companies and other partners in response to the leakage issue.  Vulnerable people, isolated communities and livestock were particular concerns in relation to water supply disruption.


(7)       Mrs Brown said that Yalding PC had received the messages after the event rather than before or during. Yalding PC had, nevertheless, given out messages of a similar nature to its residents.  She added that it was important to learn from the experience and to make the necessary adjustments to ensure that messaging from all the agencies, including Parishes, went out early in a co-ordinated fashion.  The Parish Councils had a vital role to play in achieving this goal. 


(8)       Mr Harwood said that a lot of information had been transmitted through the KALC during the recent severe weather event.   The multi-agency Emergency Management Team had also worked closely with those communities that had their own Resilience Plans.  He offered to take back Mrs Brown’s concerns to Kent Resilience Forum colleagues.


(9)       Mr Harwood then said that that there would be a number of opportunities for lessons to be learned through a series of debriefs that would be held by the various agencies, as well as an overall Kent Resilience Forum multi-agency debrief.  


(10)     Mr Harwood continued by saying that these reviews would look closely at some of the staff and contractor issues.   The demands made upon  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.