SOUTHERN Water is about to begin its latest stage of a major overhaul of Hampshire’s creaking water and waste network.

The water company is now pumping £414m into revamping its infrastructure to make sure it does not fall foul of strict rules imposed by its regulator and EU drinking water quality rules.

Richard Price, head of capital delivery, said: “Work is ongoing to replace ageing water mains, lay new sewers and refurbish treatment works.

“The projects will bring major environmental and service improvements, the benefits of which will last long into the future.

“By ensuring investment in our communities we are able to support thousands of jobs, while delivering improved services and a wide range of environmental improvements, such as cleaner seas and rivers.”

The firm is currently in year three of a five-year £1.8 billion investment programme which is the equivalent of spending almost £1,000 for every property in the south-east.

In the end of last year it began its £25m upgrade of Millbrook Wastewater Treatment Works, in Western Docks, Southampton .

The scheme, which will improve the quality of treated wastewater leaving the site, started in late 2011 and is due for completion in 2014.

In the latest round, some eight miles of sewers across the county are set for repairs, and treatment works in Lymington , Pennington, Fareham and the Isle of Wight will be modernised.

Work is also due to continue in the battle against leaking pipes.

The replacement of about 6km of water mains will reduce the risk of bursts and leaks.

Mr Price said: “Leakage continues to be a priority for the company and we’re committed to driving levels down even further this year.”

Leak busting is viewed as crucial if future water supplies can be maintained without rationing measures amid a booming population and a string of dry winters.

Pay as you go water meters are being installed throughout southern Hampshire to stem household wastage.