Parliament calls on water sector to collaborate
“To deliver real change and improve the state of our rivers, a wide range of stakeholders must come together including the Government, regulators and water companies.”
This week the Environmental Audit Committee highlighted the poor water quality in English rivers blaming chronic underinvestment and multiple failures in monitoring, governance and enforcement.
The Committee’s chair said:
“Monitoring regimes need to be reviewed, enforcement needs to be ramped up, and even public awareness needs boosting on what can and cannot be poured down drains or flushed down the toilet. So many emerging pollutants are being missed by inadequate and insufficient monitoring, and court actions against polluters have fallen dramatically. To deliver real change and improve the state of our rivers, a wide range of stakeholders must come together including the Government, regulators and water companies.”
“To deliver real change and improve the state of our rivers, a wide range of stakeholders must come together”
While a complete overview of river health has been hampered so far, the report concludes that it is still clear that rivers in England are in a mess. Not a single river in England has received a clean bill of health for chemical contamination. Disturbing evidence suggests they are becoming breeding grounds for antimicrobial resistance.
Unable to cope with housing development, plastic pollution and heavier rainfall, the sewerage system is overwhelmed. Ofwat has focused on security of water supply and protecting consumers from unfairly priced bills, the report criticised this approach calling the emphasis on facilitating investment in a sewerage system fit for the 21st century as “insufficient”. It went so far as to say that Ofwat should examine the powers it may have to limit the payment of bonuses to water company executives while companies persistently breach their permits.
The emphasis on facilitating investment in a sewerage system fit for the 21st century is insufficient.
The Environment Act signalled the first welcome sign of political will to tackle this issue, and now is the time for industry, government, and polluter action in response. Understandably, storm overflows, FOGs, and consumer awareness are hot topics this year at Future of Utilities: Water. As the UK’s premier water industry conference, the event provides the best possible forum for stakeholders to unite to deliver the step-change necessary to deliver a system that’s fit for the future. Join us at this crucial time for industry-wide collaboration.
Find the full report here.