We welcome the Public Accounts Committee’s focus on future water supplies. The water industry is making significant progress across many of its recommendations, and just next week is launching the first national consumer campaign to help customers understand how they can save water.
We also welcome the Committee’s recognition that in circumstances where customers support increased investment in water resilience measures, then regulators should enable it. The National Infrastructure Commission suggests we need £21 billion of investment by 2050 to secure our supplies. We can get going on that early: with bills declining by 12% by 2025, there is enough room and customer support over coming years to simultaneously increase investment while also keeping bills below where they have been in previous years.
On specifics, leakage is one of the industry’s top priorities and, thanks to action from companies, significant progress has been made with leakage down 7% this year to the lowest level since records began. We know more needs to be done however which is why we have ambitious plans to halving leakage by 2050.
We also want to help government embed water efficiency in our national psyche. It is pleasing therefore that the committee has recognised the need for water efficiency measures, such as introducing labels on washing machines and dishwashers to show how much water they use, and smarter building regulations to cut water waste. These measures could have a huge impact and we will continue to work closely with government to help make them a reality.
We are passionate about addressing climate change, protecting the environment and serving customers with clean and resilient water supplies and are working with all our stakeholders to address the challenges ahead. Work is well underway on our ambitious commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030, with a routemap to be published in the autumn and water companies continue to invest heavily in environmental improvements with £5 billion to spent over the next 5 years and plans to improve 5,000 miles of rivers.
The Public Accounts Committee’s report can be read in full here.
For more information please contact the Water UK Corporate Affairs team on 020 7344 1805