Water

Editor's picks

Water quality at designated bathing sites is at its highest standard since classifications began in 2015 with 99% attaining acceptable quality and almost 95% being classed as good or excellent. However, the UK’s first designated inland bathing site in the River Wharfe in Ilkley was rated as poor in its inaugural assessment by the Environment Agency.
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Head of the Environment Agency James Bevan has said regulators need to “think differently, speak softly and carry a bigger stick,” working with operators to protect the environment and improve waterways but being “far firmer” if they fail to cooperate. He also called for “fewer, simpler and better” regulations to achieve environmental goals.
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The chair of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) has said the newly formed body will not rely on financial fines as its go-to enforcement action, claiming reputational penalties are more effective in changing behaviour. Speaking ahead of the OEP being granted its full powers by parliament on 24 January, Gladys Stacey said the office will be "independent but not remote".
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Featured

Yorkshire Water has set out £13 million of investment to improve water quality in the River Wharfe in Ilkley which was the first inland bathing site designated last year. The company stressed that its interventions alone would not be sufficient to transform the river and called on stakeholders to work together to tackle pollution at source
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England could face a daily water deficit of 3,435 megalitres by 2050 - an extra 1,500 megalitres over the previous forecast from two years ago - if no action is taken to prevent the shortage, regional water resource groups have warned. Representatives of the groups said demand reduction will play a vital role in managing water resources across the country until major infrastructure projects can be completed.
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Responsibility for improving water quality in rivers cannot be laid solely at the door of the water industry, the Environmental Audit Committee has said in its report following a year-long inquiry into the health of rivers in England. The committee said engagement is needed with farmers, landowners, housing developers and local authorities and called for a culture of “water citizenship” to make people better aware of the impacts of their behaviour.
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Latest in Water

Water firms are increasingly choosing proactive forecasting from the Met Office in place of post-weather event analysis. Julian Menadue writes
News
The show must go on, whatever the weather. Justin Pugsley finds preparation, rapid response and insurance the vital ingredients for utility resilience through winter weather
Opinion
Clive Mottram looks at the new licence options on offer in the draft Water Bill and asks, will they drive an active, competitive market?
News
It's been a long, slow process improving our housing stock. In the new-build sector, the government has taken immense care to keep housebuilders on side. Those builders have had years of warning of when energy efficiency standards will be tightened, and a roadmap towards still better standards in future that could not be clearer. Nonetheless, housebuilders have complained that capital costs will increase, and prices will go up for buyers.
Comment
Forget a substantial public subsidy, the Thames Tideway Tunnel is likely to be financed by Thames Water customers and pseudo-PFI investors, says Nigel Hawkins
News
Want to improve your SIM performance? Allow staff more freedom and flexibility to respond to customers as individuals, says Ben Bax
Opinion
When designing default tariffs for the water retail market, Ofwat must protect customers while allowing competition to flourish, says Sam Williams
News
Increasing demand by a growing population, climate change, escalating energy prices and an ageing infrastructure are all combining to build pressure on our water networks. How we all manage and consume water needs to evolve to cope with future demand. New technologies are emerging that will improve distribution network operations and efficiencies, as well as making consumers more aware of the cost - and hence affect how they use water.
Comment
Heidi Mottram came into the top job at Northumbrian Water from a distinguished career in rail. Two years on, she talks to Megan Darby about sustainability, regulatory drama and why some people in the industry need to grow up
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