Since the outbreak of COVID-19, our water teams across the South West of England have been working tirelessly to support South West Water and its customer to ensure they are connected. Here, Ian West, regional director within our Utilities & Rail business explains all that we have been doing to support communities at this time.

“We have a longstanding partnership with South West Water having delivered services to them for over 25 years. Over this time, we have provided a range of services each year to both South West Water and Bournemouth Water’s 1.9m customers. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, our work has continued, and we have looked at new and different ways of working – as we know communities are relying on us, perhaps more than ever.

At the end of last year, we were reappointed to South West Water’s Network Services Alliance framework with the contract starting last month. Part of AMP7, this is a cycle that the water industry follows for setting out its aims for the next five years, we will carry out both planned and 24/7 reactive services including mains network repair and maintenance, metering, new connections and developer services as well as providing services for its waste water reactive network.  

Over the past month, our team of over 200 key worker colleagues have been working hard to ensure the taps keep flowing, the toilets keep flushing and we support households as they are using water in their homes.  Much of what we do isn’t seen and that’s often how we like it, be it because we carry out works underground, in the middle of the night or in remote locations, every day we are out and about doing all that we can to serve residents across the south west.

We have repaired over 1,300 leaks and burst pipes in the last four weeks. This has included a number of large diameter burst pipes in challenging areas, such as a 36 inch diameter raw water pipe (carrying water for treatment) buried 5m deep and supplying the main water treatment works at Pynes which serves Exeter and surrounding areas. With the threat of a large area being without water our teams set to work and utilised all rapid response equipment to repair the issue.

And we did, without any service disruption.

This is just one example, hundreds of others have been fixed each week within the network in addition to carrying out 70 sewer repairs. We are carrying out these works safely, working to Kier’s Site Operating Procedures as well as staggered start shift patterns and only one person being in one van.

Working collaboratively with South West Water we are committed to providing a reliable service for customers. As South West Water say on its website, ‘we can get through it if we all support each other’ and with all teams and customers being vigilant, we are proud to be keeping communities connected at this vital time.”

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