Responding to the letter from David Black, Ofwat Interim Chief Executive, to water and sewerage companies on improving the performance of storm overflows, Water UK Chief Executive Christine McGourty said:
“Water companies are passionate about their role as custodians of the environment and are working with regulators and government to eliminate harm from storm overflows. More than 80% of overflows are now monitored, and companies are making £1.2bn of further improvements as part of a wider £5bn environmental investment programme over the next few years.
“It will take an intensive, joint effort from all those involved in protecting and enhancing our rivers and waterways to bring about the step change that everyone wants to see. We are asking the Government to make some simple changes to the Environment Bill, currently going through Parliament. These would reduce the impact of wet wipes, which often block sewers and cause overflows, and help overloaded systems by keeping rainwater out of them.
“Crucially, while there are no quick-fix solutions, we are also working with the regulator, Ofwat, and other partners to ensure water companies can accelerate the significant investment needed this decade to meet the public’s expectations for river water quality.”