Innovative Partnership is a Water Industry First – South West Water and Water Direct

South West Water and Water Direct have begun a formal collaboration to develop the water industry’s first end-to-end, fully managed and staffed alternative water supply service across South West Water’s supply area.


South West Water and Water Direct are working in partnership to design enhanced Alternative Water Supply (AWS) delivery services to 800,000 homes and 70,000 businesses across the South West. An industry-first, the project will see South West Water utilising Water Direct’s resources and expertise to design, manage and deliver alternative water supplies during planned and unplanned interruptions to the water supply.

This is the first example of a fully outsourced, turnkey AWS service and will guarantee fast response of staff and equipment to affected areas during an incident, enabling South West Water’s staff to focus on restoring supply to customers. The extensive programme encompasses tactical planning, pre-assessment of locations, onsite logistics, bottled water stock management, traffic management, resource planning and acquisition.

South West Water has long advocated for water companies to have greater ambition, enabling the industry to excel, with targets and incentives aligned to imperative societal impacts and longer-term outcomes. In its latest five-year business plan (2025-30), the water company outlined a strategy targeted at risks and SEMD interventions, where enhanced capability of equipment and personnel and adaptive pathways would ensure a ‘quicker reaction and more effective response to risks out of our control’.

Chris Falconer, Chief Commercial Officer at Water Direct commented: “This pilot project will hugely enhance South West Water’s AWS delivery and reflects its commitment to agile, innovative solutions which exceed SEMD requirements and demonstrate industry-leading customer experience.

“This is a first for Water Direct too, and a significant collaboration for the industry. Water Direct knows the challenges that water companies have in meeting SEMD, and it is our objective to support positive change in AWS nationwide. Ultimately, we all want the best outcomes and by sharing expertise and capability and we believe the project will deliver lasting value to the industry and most importantly, South West Water’s customers.”

Mark Hillson, South West Water’s, Drinking Water Services Director, said: “Providing a first-class service to our customers is vital to us at all times and we are always looking for innovative ways to achieve this, so we’re excited to explore how this industry-first collaboration can support us in achieving our goals.

“This project has the potential to improve our service by ensuring our customers receive faster and more accessible alternative water supplies during times of temporary disruption while reducing the impact on our own workforce so our colleagues can focus fully on restoring main water supplies.”