AN Essex-based company has launched a new supply service for when there are water outages - a creation which bosses believe is the first of its kind. 

Water Direct, in Earls Colne, has revealed a new innovative project designed to support the 800,000 homes and 70,000 businesses across the south West.

The new scheme represents an industry first, delivering alternative water supplies during planned and unplanned supply disruptions South West Water's supply area.

The objective is to provide a swift response with personnel and equipment during water supply incidents, which will allow South West Water's staff to focus on restoring normal water supply to customers.

The service includes a wide-ranging programme which entails planning, assessing locations, on-site logistics, traffic management, bottled water stock management, and resource planning and acquisition.

Chris Falconer, chief commercial officer at Water Direct, said: "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."

Water Direct was established in 1996 to deliver an emergency bottled water service to a local water utility company and was acquired in 2022 by Soris Capital Partners.

Today, it is a provider for water retailers and wholesalers planning emergency or planned changes to water supplies.

This facility operates from more than 20 sites across the country and holds a quality-assured, rotated stock of millions of litres of emergency bottled drinking water.

South West Water provides water and waste services to 1.8 million consumers across Cornwall, Devon, the Isles of Scilly and parts of Dorset and Somerset.

Its collaboration with Water Direct aims to benefit the management of water supplies and in handling unexpected events which may interrupt regular water services.