CIWEM welcomes draft Water Bill but calls for more urgency and more innovation in the management of water in a changing climate
CIWEM welcomes draft Water Bill but calls for more urgency and more innovation in the management of water in a changing climate.
CIWEM agrees with the principle of better regulation and wider competition as set out in the draft Water Bill. However, this Institution advocates more radical change that can be delivered without further primary legislation.
There is a need for a rapid pace of change within the structure of the water sector in order to build resilience and respond to climate change, floods, droughts, demographic change; and there is a need to invest in and deliver innovative solutions to these issues. Building a fitter-for-purpose water sector able to meet current and future challenges is outlined in CIWEM’s advocacy report ‘Regulation for a Sustainable Water Industry’.
CIWEM urges the government to up the pace of progress on the issues raised within the Water White Paper, published late last year, and take the ambitious steps required to deliver integrated water management systems and a sector that is resilient to the challenge of increased demand from a growing, urbanised population and to climate change.
These issues will be explored in greater depth at CIWEM’s forthcoming Regulation conference in London on 29th November.
CIWEM Executive Director, Nick Reeves OBE, says: “CIWEM is pleased that the Draft Water Bill has been published and welcomes many of the government’s proposals. Even if more competition in the sector does not encourage customers to switch suppliers on the scale predicted, water companies should be encouraged by the existence of competition to improve and innovate their levels of service.
But there remain some serious conflicts in water policy. The Committee on Climate Change noted the need to make water more expensive to deter profligate use. Yet the focus of the draft Bill is to make water as cheap as possible and to increase shareholder benefit.
Whilst the government has focussed on the importance of competition to deliver better shareholder and customer value, the challenges are much more stark and require urgent and wide-reaching action. In a matter of weeks we have slalomed from drought and water restrictions to some of the worst summer flooding on record. The Committee on Climate Change, through its Adaptation Sub-Committee, is the latest body to warn of the link between climate change and extremes of weather. The narrative is water – too much or too little. So we must manage it better, recognising its innate value to our everyday lives and over and above that which is reflected in our bills.”
Related categories: Water conservation and supply