Thames Water sets out 25-year plan for drainage and wastewater services

To ensure resilient and sustainable wastewater service for future generations.

Thames Water has published its co-created draft Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan 2025-2050 (DWMP) for public consultation, which details the long-term risks to infrastructure due to population growth and climate change. To address these societal challenges, the company has set out plans to encourage partnership working, which will drive more sustainable solutions with wider societal benefits.

The challenges
The population in London and the Thames Valley region is predicted to grow by 2.7 million by 2050, according to the Office for National Statistics of the UK Statistics Authority, while extreme weather events resulting from climate change and the loss of ‘spongy’ surfaces and green areas which can absorb water is expected to put extra pressure on the company’s wastewater and drainage services. The need to plan effectively for the long term is essential, this plan sets out the innovative solutions that are required to overcome these challenges.

Sarah Bentley, CEO of Thames Water, commented: “Over the next 25 years and beyond, we must be able to meet the challenges of climate change and population growth while continuing to provide wastewater services to our customers.

“Flooding can be a devastating experience and we’re seeing more and more the pressures significant rainfall events can put on our network, so we want to take action to stop rainwater from getting into the sewers in the first place so as not need to be sent to our sewage works for treatment.”

Suggested approach
Nature-based infrastructure is at the centre of the proposed plan to address flooding, protect homes and reduce storm discharges. This includes:

  • Providing sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to 7,000 hectares of land in London
  • Investment in Thames Water’s sewage treatment works to increase capacity and provide more efficiencies
  • A plan to prevent wastewater pollution; leading wider efforts to restore river health and create thriving natural environments.

“Delivering positive outcomes for our customers, the communities we serve and the natural environment across our region is at the heart of this proposed plan and our values as a company. I’m excited to be sharing our collective vision for creating a more sustainable and green solutions-based approach to drainage and wastewater while providing greater access to our sites and green spaces,” Bentley concluded.

“Working collaboratively with our partners will make a big difference to wastewater activities for future generations and our precious environment.”