UK Water Regulator to Investigate South West Water Leaks
May 31 2023
Ofwat, the UK’s water industry regulator, has initiated an investigation into South West Water, questioning the accuracy of its leakage performance reporting. This probe follows an earlier one carried out by Ofwat on the company's environmental performance and sewage treatment operations.
The scrutiny pertains to the company's reported water leakage and per capita consumption figures – metrics indicative of average household water usage. Water suppliers are grappling with the pressing issue of water loss via pipeline leaks, a problem the UK Government aims to halve by 2050.
As per the Government’s recent Plan For Water, a substantial 20% of the public water supply is being wasted through leaks. In the wake of climate change-induced prolonged droughts and a burgeoning demand for water, the future might witness a supply-demand gap if wastage isn't curbed and water efficiency improved.
David Black, Ofwat’s CEO, emphasized the regulator's commitment to holding firms accountable for their performance and for the provision of timely, complete, and accurate data to both Ofwat and their customers.
"An in-depth investigation into South West Water is underway," Black said. "We will update on our findings and any necessary further action from Ofwat in due course."
In Ofwat’s annual report released last December, South West Water, a subsidiary of Pennon, was ranked among the six poorest performing water companies. The regulator possesses the authority to impose penalties or give rewards based on a company’s yearly performance outcomes.
Ofwat declared it would refrain from commenting further on the ongoing investigation until its completion. South West Water, with a history of regulatory fines for sewage spills, is once again under the scanner. According to the Environment Agency's data, England reported approximately 300,000 sewage spills in 2022.
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