Do Water Companies Need to 'Up Their Game'?
Feb 24 2019
In recent years, water companies in the UK have made a number of changes to meet the ever-growing environmental concerns. But, according to new environmental scorecards from Blueprint for Water, there are still clear gaps in the UK water sector when it comes to certain environmental issues.
Blueprint for Water, which is part of the Wildlife and Countryside Link (the largest environment coalition in England) analyses the strength of different water companies’ plans and how they aim to protect and improve our environment.
Companies must supply Blueprint for Water with their plans for the next five-year business cycle, running from 2020-2025, which is referred to within the industry as ‘PR19’. This year’s scorecards revealed the key areas that need work across the board in order to improve water companies’ relationship with the environment.
Protect and restore catchments from source to sea
Essentially, Blueprint for Water wants UK water companies to commit to understanding and addressing their impact on the environment. First of all, they ask companies to “significantly extend investment in catchment management”, benefiting water quality, water resources, flood risk and recreation.
Stop pollution of our waters
Water pollution is a huge environmental problem across the globe, affecting marine life and the quality of water. Blueprint for Water asks companies to implement “long term strategic wastewater plans”, ensuring sewage and treatment plants are good enough to prevent future pollution incidents. They also encourage water companies to aim for 0 pollution incidents over the next 5 years.
Use water wisely and price water fairly
Water shortages can be a huge problem for many, and the UK is no different. This is why Blueprint for Water is asking water companies to increase their demand management programmes, increase resilience and equally invest in supply and demand. Companies are encouraged not to increase their overall water abstraction from rivers and groundwater, despite any population increase.
Keep our rivers flowing and wetlands wet
Finally, in order to improve and maintain our environment, water companies must consider the value of leaving water in the environment and ensure that new water supplies are considered with transparency and include necessary measures to support the maintenance of good water supply status.
Which water companies rank the highest?
As well as highlighting areas for improvement, the scorecards ranked UK water companies based on their current plans and achievements relating to environmental preservation. Overall, South West Water was ranked as the highest scoring water and sewage company, and South East Water as the highest scoring water only company. Severn Trent Water and Cambridge and South Staffs Water were both scored the lowest for their respective categories.
Find out more about how water companies can improve their efficiency in the article ‘Converting Wastewater into Energy’.
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