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from Water UK

theView from Water UK
29 February 2012


Implementing the White Paper together

The Water White Paper, currently being examined by the Efra Select Committee, is a useful high-level document addressing the future of the water industry. It is for us all, working together, to see that it is implemented in as low-risk way as possible, ensuring that the industry continues to enjoy investor and customer confidence.

Some words of warning: drawing on our experience in Scotland, we suggest that some of the timescales that have been mooted for proposals in the White Paper are impractical.

Market reforms would best be introduced sequentially, focusing first on retail competition, in order to get them right. And on upstream reform, there are many aspects we can work constructively on now with regulators and stakeholders, without waiting for legislation.

Now that Government has set its direction of travel, we need Government's continued oversight to ensure that the way in which the White Paper is implemented meets its policy objectives.

Water UK written evidence

Efra Select Committee - all evidence submitted

Dawn Waterman

Water resources

Joined up approach to resources

In the face of some of the driest weather on record, billions of pounds of investment in the industry over the past two decades, combined with water efficiency promotion and valued customer assistance with demand, have ensured that water supplies have been able to cope. However, without significant and prolonged periods of rain, further steps are likely in some areas.

Water UK is working with its members to co-ordinate their responses to the drought, and in that capacity, Water UK attended last week's summit called by the Secretary of State to discuss the drought affecting much of eastern and south east England.

Water UK summary for Defra water summit

Defra drought update

Sarah Mukherjee

Water performance of buildings

Targeting water use in buildings is likely to be an efficient means of reducing the pressure on water resources, particularly through changes in human behaviour. Water UK has recently responded to a European Commission consultation on the subject.

Any strategy for reducing overall demand will require a holistic approach if it is to be sustainable: it must integrate economic, environmental and social objectives. The emphasis is on changing customer habits and introducing measures such as the use of retrofit devices and water saving measures for new buildings.

Targeting all buildings is important, and any approach should also take account of local situations and reflect a picture of water resources and water scarcity that varies widely from region to region across Europe.

Water UK response

Water Performance of Buildings
European Commission background paper and consultation
November 2011

Jim Marshall


Blueprint focus for Green Week

Europe's highest profile environment event, the Green Week conference, on 24-25 May, will this year focus on water and will cover issues relating to the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources.

The Blueprint, now under consultation with governments and stakeholders, seeks to deliver effective, streamlined policy to meet the water quality improvements of the Water Framework Directive by 2020, tackle water scarcity and drought, address climate change impacts and ensure that Europe's water policy is fit for purpose.

Green Week runs from 22 to 25 May.

3rd European Water Conference, 24-25 May

Conference programme

Water UK activity in Europe
Find out more

Laraine Alder

Soil protection - new reports

Back in 2006 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on soil protection, aimed at protecting water and air quality, food production and biodiversity and addressing climate change. The directive was never enacted.

There are currently no measures in place for systematic monitoring and protection of soil quality across Europe, and despite the efforts of several presidencies, the European Council has been unable to agree on a legislative proposal.

Two new reports are now under discussion and according to Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, these reports, relating to policy and scientific aspects of soil protection, highlight "the importance of preserving European soils if we are to safeguard supplies of quality food and clean groundwater, healthy recreational spaces and lower greenhouse gas emissions".

The Commission has invited the Parliament and Council to submit views on the policy report and as such to move forward with this issue.

Implementation of the Soil Thematic Strategy and ongoing activities
European Commission report

Laraine Alder

Water environment

Fundamentals in CAP reform

The EU system of payments to farmers is undergoing reform. There has been a shift, in recent years, from paying farmers to produce more food towards paying them to support environmental objectives.

Many schemes funded under the current Entry Level and Higher Level schemes within the Common Agricultural Policy concentrate on a particular species or group of species. If you pay farmers to get the fundamentals right, by improving water, air and soil quality, these biodiversity and environmental benefits will automatically follow.

Using CAP funding to provide cleaner water is a demonstrably good use of public funds, supporting genuinely sustainable agriculture, protecting wildlife and enhancing our fragile and irreplaceable ecosystems.

Sarah Mukherjee


Future financing of the water sector

The 12th annual City Conference tomorrow (1 March) will welcome over 180 delegates to debate and discuss key issues, including the Government's Water White Paper and Ofwats future price limits consultation.

Broad questions remain about the future incentives for investment in the water sector, the future balance of risk and reward and a regulatory regime that will ensure that the sector can continue to have access to a low cost of capital through PR14 and beyond.

With a high-profile line-up of speakers from Government, the industry and City institutions, Water UK's foremost financial event provides an excellent platform for discussion of the industry's future financing needs.

Conference programme

Sejal Lad


the View...

The View from Water UK is a monthly update of news and water industry positions relating to our immediate and longer-term policy work for a sustainable water industry.

Water UK engages with government, regulators and stakeholders to provide representation and expertise on behalf of the water and the water and sewerage companies and their customers for the efficient delivery of water services, resources management, environmental protection and good governance, within an effective economic framework.

Individual policy advisers contribute to the newsletter and can be contacted by email.

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Related links


Water White Paper
Water UK written evidence to Efra Select Committee

Resources update
Water UK summary for Defra water summit

Water performance of buildings
Water UK response to the European Commission

Water UK activity in Europe

Green Week 22-25 May

3rd European Conference on Water 24-25 May


City Conference 2012
Water UK's foremost financial event