Environmental group Extinction Rebellion (XR) staged protests at the headquarters of Southern Water in Worthing, pouring fake sewage on the steps of the entrance. The group is calling for the water company to stop polluting waterways with sewage incidents that have caused harm to aquatic life.
Southern Water was named as one of the worst performing companies by Ofwat last year, prompting criticism of the company’s efforts to tackle the issue. XR members wore hazmat suits and respirators during the demonstration, symbolizing the potential dangers of polluted waterways.
The group delivered a letter to Southern Water and another water company, demanding an end to sewage spills and the payment of bonuses and dividends to shareholders. Southern Water acknowledged the demonstration, stating that they are aware of the concerns of those involved.
In response, the water company emphasized their commitment to improving the standard of bathing waters through major investments in treatment works along the coast. They also highlighted their efforts to reduce the use of storm overflows when increased surface and groundwater enter their sewers.
Southern Water stated that they are investing £2 billion between 2020 and 2025 to improve their network and infrastructure, and have not paid a dividend to shareholders since 2017. The company is working to extend their efforts and partnerships with other agencies to have an even bigger positive impact on the environment.
Despite the company’s reassurances, XR has vowed to continue protesting until Southern Water and other companies take more significant action to address sewage spills and their impact on waterways.