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Water companies asked to step up infrastructure spending

November 19, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Water companies in both England and Wales have been urged by the Environment Agency to increase the amount of money spent on infrastructure maintenance. The agency is keen for the companies to increase their spending in an effort to reduce pollution as well as the impact of flooding. This latter issue is a particular problem as many water treatment and sewage works are located within close proximity of major rivers. With regards to pollution, last year a fifth of the serious pollution incidents seen across the country were caused by neglect on behalf of water companies. Many of these incidents occurred as a result of poorly maintained sewage infrastructure.

The announcement from the Environment Agency came after water companies across England and Wales submitted their business plans for the five years following 2010. The plans were handed to Ofwat, the industry regulator in charge of determining the prices customers are charged for water and waste services, and the Environment Agency was subsequently informed of the contents.

Although the Environment Agency was pleased with the general content of the plans, officials believe that the companies need to work harder to reduce water demand. Furthermore, the water companies need to use their resources in a more efficient and appropriate manner. The director of water management at the Environment Agency, David King, believes that water companies will not be able to increase their spending to an adequate level within one pricing period, but instead a process of continued investment will need to take place.

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