Water Industry News

15 New Proposals To Help Keep The UK’s Taps Running

Industry regulator Ofwat has provided further support for 15 new projects to help them make progress and make sure that England and Wales has all the long-term solutions it needs to keep the taps flowing, even in the face of climate change.


Some of the ideas now being explored include creating new reservoirs and making greater use of canals, so that water can be captured and moved to wherever it is needed.


Rainfall distribution around the country is expected to become less predictable and consistent around the UK because of climate change-driven changes to weather patterns.


Overall water availability will be affected by hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters… which is why Ofwat has provided nearly £500 million of funding for water companies to start devising innovative and strategic solutions.


Each water company involved in the programme has now gathered evidence and made inroads in exploring these solutions, with the 15 accepted proposals set to proceed to the next stage of development and scrutiny.


The programme is being overseen by the Regulators Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID), which is made up of Ofwat, the Drinking Water Inspectorate and the Environment Agency, alongside support from Natural England, the Consumer Council for Water and Natural Resources Wales.


Managing director of RAPID Paul Hickey said: “Making sure the water sector is prepared and planning for our changing climate is essential.


“Ofwat’s approach of allowing nearly £500 million of funding to find innovative and effective solutions, and doing so with real collaboration across companies and regulators, is a landmark shift and could unlock meaningful innovation and secure services for customers of the future and protect the natural environment.


“We have to find new and sustainable ways to keep the taps running. We will continue to collaborate to find the right solutions so the water sector delivers in the face of the climate emergency.”


Ofwat also recently announced that £2.8 billion would be invested in environmental projects to help the UK build back greener after the pandemic. Part of the package will see more than £157 million committed to help eliminate the harm caused by storm overflows, as well as the trial creation of two new bathing rivers.


Companies will also be collaborating with local partners to drive down the risk of flooding, cut pollution and protect habitats by investing £89 million in nature-based and catchment management solutions.


Innovative improvements to drinking water treatment are also being considered, to reduce energy and chemical usage, as well as up to £172 million invested to help customers save water. This includes areas that currently take water from chalk streams, with such proposals set to help restore and create natural environments that future generations will be proud of.


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