The proposals unveiled today (2 October) include building 10 new reservoirs, reducing leakage by a quarter from 2020 levels and installing technology at sewage works to remove more than a million tonnes of phosphorus from rivers.
The scheme also commits £11bn towards reducing overflow spills, a plan described by trade association Water UK as “the most ambitious modernisation of sewers since the Victorian era.”
Water UK chief executive David Henderson said: “These record-breaking investment proposals will secure our water supply as we deal with a changing climate and a growing population.”
Regional water companies have submitted these proposals in their draft business plans to Ofwat, the water-industry regulator, for its 2025-2030 price review.
The plans are expected to create more than 30,000 jobs and 4,000 apprenticeships, representing a 50 per cent increase in the water industry’s workforce, according to Water UK.
The investment priorities vary by region. Yorkshire water plans to invest £2.4bn in replacing mains and refurbishing storage and treatment facilities, while Wales Water aims to replace 7,500 customers’ lead pipes.
The water companies are proposing to fund the upgrades through consumer price increases. Water bills would cost an extra £7 per month by 2025, rising incrementally to £13 per month by 2030, if plans are approved by Ofwat.
Ofwat said that it will provide incentives to companies that meet their promises and penalise those that fail to deliver.
UK water companies have come under intense scrutiny in the past few years for failing to contain leaks and overflows.
Ofwat chief executive David Black said: “The water industry needs to deliver a step change in investment and performance to clean up our rivers and seas, while also helping to ensure that we can meet the challenge of climate change.”
Water companies will be hosting consultations for customers and stakeholders throughout October and November. Ofwat will make its final decisions on the proposals in December 2024.
Read more here
View latest Water & Utilities vacancies here