The Challenge:

At the end of March, the UK Government introduced a period of lockdown where the nation was required to stay at home and only go out if it was essential. With customers staying at home, coupled with the driest spring since records began, demand for water increased and it was vital that the network could cope. It was essential that South West Water kept the taps running during this time.

The Solution:

Over the last 25 years, Kier has been providing its services to South West Water and as a result of COVID-19 it was necessary to adapt new ways of working to maintain social distancing, and for our 200-strong team to carry out works in line with Public Health England’s guidance and in compliance with the Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Procedures. This included staggered shift times and one person only, per vehicle.

Our services include a 24/7 reactive service, including mains network repairs and maintenance. The resulting month after lockdown, we repaired a number of large diameter burst pipes in challenging locations.

This included 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, which if not fixed would mean 20,000 homes could potentially lose its water supply. Over the course a weekend, our teams meticulously carried out an operation, utilising all rapid response equipment to stop the leak and ensure continuity of service for residents in the area.

The Impact:

Over four weeks, the team repaired over 1,300 leaks and burst pipes and carried out 70 sewer repairs and our level of service did not dip during this time. Works were carried out safely and successfully in order to deliver the essential services and keep communities connected.

" A big thanks to our contractors Kier Group. The team repaired a 10” main on Easter Sunday. Minimal disruption was caused as our team were busy tankering to keep customers taps flowing. Thank you all. "
South West Water Twitter

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