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from Water UK

theView from Water UK
2 August 2012


The right reform at the right time

The long-awaited Draft Water Bill was published on 10 July. Its content was much as anticipated by Water UK, largely mirroring the Water White Paper in its intent to open the market to new entrants and develop competition for business customers.

Water UK sees the plans as “the right reform at the right time”, and looks forward to applying to England and Wales our experience of developing markets in Scotland.

The Draft Bill also proposes measures to encourage greater connectivity between water companies. Water UK recognises that collaboration across the sector will enable a quick and effective response to the challenges of increased consumer demand and climate change.

The right reform at the right time – Water UK response to the Draft Water Bill
Water UK press release

Reform and innovation at the heart of the sector, says Water UK
Water UK press release

Government sets out ambitious reform of the water industry
Defra news

Dawn Waterman

Water resources

Lessons to learn from drought

Despite all Temporary Use Bans having now been lifted, there is continued concern for UK water resources, particularly if there is a further dry spell through autumn and winter.

While the spectre of drought may have lifted for many, the work within the industry continues, to build and consolidate resilience and ensure that customers continue to receive the service and supply they expect and upon which they rely.

Water UK held a drought resilience workshop on 23 July, bringing together communications and water resources professionals from the water companies, to discuss the experience of the most recent drought and what we can learn from it.

Particular attention was paid to the collaboration and co-operation between companies and the importance of consistent communication with the public.

Rain, forward planning and low demand prompt restrictions lift
Water UK news release

Nick Ellins

Drinking water

Regulator report re-confirms drinking water quality

The quality of drinking water in 2011 remained exceptionally high, according to the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). Around two million samples were taken in England and Wales, with 99.96% meeting or exceeding the strict standards set.

The DWI findings show that the investment that water companies are making in the quality and safety of drinking water is well-placed.

The lack of complacency in the water industry was also recognised, with the DWI acknowledging that remedial action that has been taken or is planned to rectify the 0.04% of samples where standards were not met.

In addition, the latest reports show that there is greater consistency of quality performance across the UK, with the North West and Wales in particular reporting increases in compliance.

Drinking Water 2011

A report by the Chief Inspector of Drinking Water

Jim Marshall


Customer satisfaction remains high

Water and sewerage services have leapfrogged energy services in terms of value for money, according to a survey of customers. The tracking research, carried out by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater), revealed that nearly three-quarters of customers believed their water and sewerage charges provided value for money, and that trust in water and wastewater companies has risen.

Customer service for water also rated more highly than for energy, with around nine out of ten customers satisfied with the service they receive from their water and wastewater companies.

The vast majority of customers - 77% - also cited a preference for tap water over bottled water for drinking.

How is my water company doing?
Results of CCWater research

Rob Wesley


Lack of action on sewer transfer

Water companies continue to be frustrated by the lack of progress on the implementation of the Supplementary Sewer Transfer or Mandatory Build Standards. Despite the first stage of transfer and adoption taking place in July 2011, no timetable has yet been set for the next phase.

While the Westminster government continues to drag its feet, the Welsh Government is moving ahead, with implementation of the Supplementary Sewer Transfer set for October 2013. With some water companies operating across the English-Welsh border, this has the potential for confusion.

In the face of what appears to be an indefinite delay, Water UK is calling on Defra to reaffirm its commitment to resolving this issue and to set a timetable for implementation.

David Strang

Working together to improve the UK investment landscape

Investing in Infrastructure
19 September, London

Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Geoffrey Spence, Chief Executive, Infrastructure UK, will be discussing the financing and progress on the National Infrastructure Plan at the 3rd Water UK Investing in Infrastructure conference.

The Government has announced an infrastructure investment package worth £50 billion and promises another 'jobs and growth' package in the autumn.

The announcement comes six months after the publication of the updated National Infrastructure Plan, which relied heavily on private sector investment to deliver the improvements and innovations the UK needs to remain internationally competitive.

Investing in Infrastructure will provide an essential, pan-utility forum to debate the challenge of financing and the efficacy of these new government measures.

The event will explore other critical, cross-sector issues and bring together leaders engaged in UK infrastructure from energy, transport, construction, water and telecommunications.

Investing in Infrastructure
Further information and bookings

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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Next events

Investing in Infrastructure
19 September 2012

Leakage Conference
18 October 2012

Recent press releases

The right reform at the right time - Water UK response to the Draft Water Bill

Rain, forward planning and low demand prompt restrictions lift

Reform and innovation at the heart of the sector, says Water UK