Water Neutrality for development

Achieving Water Neutrality for Development in the Sussex North Water Supply Zone to Minimize potential Environmental Impact.

Implementing water neutrality principles to mitigate the impact of new developments on existing water resources and the environment within the Sussex North Water Supply Zone.

In September 2021 Natural England (NE) issued a Position Statement for applicants of new development within Sussex North Water Supply Zone. This confirmed that the existing water supply in the Sussex North water resource zone cannot be ruled out as contributing to the decline in wildlife within internationally protected sites. Potential detrimental impact on the environmental site cannot be ruled out, therefore Natural England has advised that developments within this zone must not add to this impact and achieve ‘water neutrality’ in order for development to proceed.

The Position Statement defines water neutrality as:

“the use of water in the supply area before the development is the same or lower after the development is in place”.

This is the first position statement issued on water neutrality in the UK. As such this project is breaking new ground within the water sector.

Benefits of Approach/Innovation:

Pioneering Approach: First-ever UK position statement on water neutrality, breaking new ground in the water sector.

Environmental Preservation: Prevent detrimental impact on internationally protected wildlife sites and natural resources.

Sustainable Development: Ensure new developments in the water resource zone do not add to any potential deterioration of existing environmental conditions.

Resource Zone Stewardship: Developing new approaches, strategies, policies, and processes to effectively manage and steward a water neutral resource zone.

Optimized Water Management: Reducing the area of the water resource zone subjected to water neutrality through rezoning and optimizing bulk supply agreements.

Strategy Development: Guidance on embracing water neutrality through new strategies, policies, and processes.

Collaborative Engagement: Extensive stakeholder engagement with government bodies, regulators, Local Authorities, and industry entities.

Specialist Services Involved:

Water Neutrality Strategy: Utilizing Isle’s expertise to develop strategies, policies, and processes for achieving water neutrality.

Resource Optimization: Applying rezoning techniques and optimizing bulk supply agreements for effective water resource management.

Innovative Solutions Exploration: Evaluating alternative water resource options such as construction of boreholes into deep aquifers rather than hydraulically linked to the existing abstraction source, and licence abstraction trading.

Stakeholder Engagement: Leveraging Isle’s stakeholder engagement skills to collaborate with diverse entities in the project ecosystem.


Successful Environmental Protection: Implementation of water neutrality effectively prevents negative impacts on wildlife and natural sites.

Optimized Resource Utilization: Rezoning and resource optimization efforts minimize the water resource zone area subject to water neutrality.

Enhanced Water Resource Management: Efficient use of bulk supply agreements and exploration of alternative water resource options. Assessing strategic options such as licence a

Stakeholder Engagement Excellence: Enhanced stakeholder engagement and collaboration involving government bodies, regulators, Local Authorities, developers, land agents and water companies as well as industry stakeholders.

Key Contact

Ian Butler

Service Spotlight
Isle offered water efficiency expertise to achieve water neutrality, a requirement to mitigate the impact of new development. Our groundbreaking work aimed to prevent harm to wildlife and the environment.
Helped secure future water supply and safeguard biodiversity
Fostered stewardship of water neutral resource zone
Ensured project success through extensive stakeholder collaboration
Similar case studies