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www.managingwater.co.uk News & Policy


EFRA report on the Water White Paper


Launching the report, Anne McIntosh MP, EFRA Committee Chair said:


"We heard persuasive evidence about the environmental damage unleashed by over- abstraction. The Government’s current plans - to reform the abstraction regime by the mid-to-late 2020s - will not take effect rapidly enough given that our rivers are already running dry.”


“The reform of abstraction licenses must be brought forward to protect against the effect of severe droughts such as the one we saw earlier this year. Defra must also work with Ofwat and the Environment Agency to tackle urgently those abstractions which are already causing severe damage to our rivers."


“Extremely diasappointing”


The Committee also finds it "extremely disappointing" that the White Paper fails to set a target to increase levels of water metering.


"It's hard to see how the White Paper's call for water to be managed as a precious resource can be reconciled with the lack of any clear target to increase metering levels. Installing a meter is the most effective way to improve water efficiency, providing a clear incentive for householders to minimise wastage,"


The report highlights how bad debt in the water sector adds around £15 to each household’s water bill every year. "It is simply unacceptable that hard-pressed yet honest householders are subsidising those who are able but unwilling to pay their water bills. Defra must implement existing legal provisions rapidly to tackle this problem," says Anne McIntosh.


The Committee also examines proposals to reform the water industry in England to increase competition in the sector. MPs conclude that Defra should set a clear target date for opening a competitive retail market for water, and should take account of lessons that can be learned from Scotland, where retail competition has already been introduced.


"We welcome plans to increase competition in the water industry, although we believe that the White Paper’s proposals for reform will fail to deliver a well-functioning retail market. We suggest how to remedy this and we look forward to examining revised proposals in more detail once the draft Water Bill is published," adds Anne McIntosh.


The Committee calls on the Government to take action to encourage the development of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), which can reduce the risk of flooding, and to implement the relevant outstanding provisions of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.


“Deeply Worrying”


MPs also say that it is "deeply worrying" that the Government had not yet reached an agreement with insurers about providing cover for homes in areas of flood risk.


            


THE WATER STOPS HERE.


CIWEM agrees with the Committee in calling for more urgency in the reform of the abstraction regime and the encouragement of sustainable drainage systems (SUDS). They also agree that the White Paper is weak on water metering and that on rainwater harvesting, Defra must take more active steps to promote this and water recycling and seek to incorporate incentives of requirements for their inclusion in the design of new developments.


CIWEM Executive Director, Nick Reeves OBE, says: “The Water White Paper misses an opportunity to promote the retention of affordable water for all who use water wisely and to charge those who use high quantities higher prices than they now face. It is naïve to assume that people who use excessive amounts of water will change their behaviour to the degree needed through anything but higher prices.”


“...whilst much of the white paper necessarily focuses on the existing water industry and water supply systems, it is hard to believe that a document on sustainable water resources fails to mention rainwater harvesting or water recycling and re-use,” it said in its response.


The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has also called for universal water metering, as well as advocating increased interconnectivity between water companies. Deputy Chair of ICE water panel, Phill Mills, said: “Further debate on the issue of water metering is welcome and much needed. If we are to tackle the UK’s water security we need prompt, decisive action and universal metering has to form part of the solution. Metering requires a tariff structure that reflects the difference between essential and discretionary water use and must include social tariffs which support those who are less able to pay their bills. “But it’s not just about managing demand for water. Supply solutions such as increased interconnection between water companies must also form part of the solution.”


DEMOUNTABLE B TA TO AT


ABLE BARRIERS FLOOD GATES FLOOD DOORS


FLOOD GA AT FLOOD DOORS AUTOMATIC FLOOD -PR


UTOMATIC FLOOD BARRIERS


FLOOD-PROOF GLAZING FLIP-UP B


DROP DOWN B


FLOOD OOF GLAZING FLIP-UP BARRIERS PIVOT BARRIERST B


OP DOWN BARRIERS RISING B


RISING BARRIERS


   


 


 


    


 


   


   


    


      


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