WICS: Water firm is missing targets

Scottish Water has fallen behind in completing important investment projects and has missed its leakage reduction targets, despite spending more money, a report has concluded.

The Water Industry Commission for Scotland’s (WICS) annual report on the water supplier’s investment performance for 2007-08 delivered some damning verdicts.

The report, released on Monday, found that although Scottish Water had increased its spending and delivery towards the end of the financial year, had fallen behind in delivering some of its projects.

WICS said it was monitoring the firm’s leakage levels, and Scottish Water is expected to provide WICS with a better assessment of its economic level of leakage in December.

Sir Ian Byatt, chairman of WICS, said: “We have expressed to Scottish Water our concern about the rate at which projects are being submitted for sign-off, as this will result in customers having to wait longer for the benefits promised to them.”

He added: “Customers can, however, be reassured that they will not have to pay any more as a result of shortfalls in Scottish Water’s performance, as they cannot exceed the customer charges caps set by WICS in 2005.”

Scottish Water said it was on course to deliver £670m of investment this year as part of a £2.5bn programme to improve Scotland’s water infrastructure between 2006 and 2010.

Geoff Aitkenhead, Scottish Water’s asset management director, said: “It was always going to be a challenge to deliver a programme of this size and complexity, but we are on course to deliver the benefits that Scotland and our customers demand while continuing to deliver value for money.”

He added: “We recognised that we needed to improve the speed with which outputs are given formal sign off. This process has now been improved.

“A small number of projects have been delayed due to circumstances often beyond our control such as planning, land acquisition and consent issues.”

The WICS report can be read here.

Kate Martin

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