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Water UK response to the EAC inquiry, Water Quality in Rivers

The water sector is integral to the protection and enhancement of the UK’s rivers and seas and the habitats around them. We invest over £1 billion every year on environmental improvements, including a programme over the next five years to enhance 7,500 miles of river.  The environment is one of the biggest priorities for water companies and our customers.

We are committed to taking further action to improve water quality, and we are proud of the efforts we have taken to date – often voluntarily, such as establishing Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans (soon to be recognised in statute), our commitment to achieving net zero carbon by 2030, and national action on water efficiency.

In return, we are calling for Government’s help where there are straightforward changes that will accelerate our efforts, and for other sectors to play their part. The latter is particularly important as 40% of waterbodies are impacted by pollution from agriculture, for example, compared to 36% from wastewater. So we need holistic plans that deal with catchments as a whole.

We have welcomed this inquiry by the Environmental Audit Committee as helping to bring to light challenges, solutions and regulatory constraints impacting water quality.