Ofwat review: a missed opportunity

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has responded to the Defra review of regulatory body, Ofwat, with disappointment.

The Defra review concluded that no major changes to the statutory and institutional framework were needed and that regulation has been working well since privatisation.

CIWEM in contrast, believes that despite successes in the delivery of water and sewerage services in the last two decades, the structure, regulation and management of the water sector needs to be considered afresh to deal with future challenges such as population growth and climate change.

CIWEM’s executive director, Nick Reeves OBE, said: “Whilst balancing the economic, social and environmental needs of society is presently defined in the parameters for regulation, we believe they need to be adapted to reflect the changed and changing needs of society and the environment – to enhance sustainability and reduce carbon.

“Many water companies are still able to assume a short term approach and avoid shifting their asset base to sustainable systems and operations whilst “sheltering” behind Ofwat’s regulations.

“We hope that the review of Ofwat and its findings – for no need for a major change – will not come at the expense of a full and thorough Water White Paper debate.”

CIWEM believes that currently there are incentives that actively reward behaviour and outcomes that are inconsistent with a sustainable water sector.

CIWEM’s vision includes calls for more carbon, water and resource efficiency; more innovation, the frequent reuse of water and the sustainable management of catchments.

The organisation wants to see more partnership working, more integration and water companies delivering broader water services through a regulatory regime based on long term investment and planning cycles.

CIWEM also believes that the true price and value of water needs to be established and for metering to become commonplace.

You can read CIWEM’s own review of water industry regulation, published last September here.

Alison Brown

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