Have your say on £850 million proposals to improve your water and sewerage services
South West Water today (Friday 16 August) revealed more of its plans to improve the region's water and sewerage services between 2015 and 2020.
Customers and businesses are being asked to comment on its draft WaterFuture proposals, which could see around £850 million being pumped into the regional economy supporting more than 4,000 jobs, before they are submitted to water industry regulator Ofwat later this year.
Investment highlights include:
- Construction of a £50 million-plus new water treatment works for the Plymouth area using a new energy-saving process not used in the UK before
- Expanding the company's award-winning Upstream Thinking programme to restore wetlands and improve raw water quality across the region
- Producing more green energy through hydro, solar and wind power as well as producing gas from sewage sludge
- Protecting bathing waters and shellfisheries from pollution and economic loss by improving the sewerage network
- Building flood defences around key sites so services are maintained to homes and businesses during extreme weather
Following consultation with thousands of customers and dozens of organisations earlier this year, South West Water has divided its proposals into eight themed investment areas ranging from 'Ensuring the region has the water it needs' to 'Value for money charging and helping those in need'.
For the first time, the company is also revealing how future bills in 2020 might add up depending on how much is invested in each area, what efficiency savings it can deliver and future inflation rates.
Currently it is recommending investment which may lead to below inflation bill increases of around 2.5% per year - or an overall £68 increase in the average annual household water and sewerage bill between 2015 and 2020 (see Editor's Notes).
Chief Executive Chris Loughlin said: "We still need to invest in our networks to maintain the achievements of the past such as reduced leakage rates, record tap water quality and transformed bathing waters.
"There are also new challenges to face including population growth, the likelihood of more extreme weather and higher bathing water standards from 2015. Our aim is to invest in the right things at the right time to both improve our services and give the region the reliable 'always there' infrastructure it needs.
"In some areas like water resources, we don't need to invest in expensive new reservoirs. However, in other areas such as our programme to improve raw water quality on the moors, if we don't invest sooner rather than later we could end up facing much higher costs in the future.
"We believe we are close to striking the right balance between the needs of customers, the environment and the economy. Although no one likes to see bills increase, we should be able to keep future increases below the rate of inflation.
"However, before we finalise our plan in December, we need to hear whether customers think we are getting it right. Should we invest more or less in each area? I urge everyone to get involved in WaterFuture to make sure we do the best job for you."
- South West Water has divided its proposals into eight investment areas or 'outcomes'. For more detailed information, please read WaterFuture: Proposals and Choices 2015-2020 at www.southwestwater.co.uk/waterfuture
- The average household bill for water and sewerage in 2014/15 is expected to be £520 (including the £50 Government Reduction).
Investment in the eight priority areas could add a minimum of £8 to a maximum of £129 to the bill - the company is recommending total options which would increase the bill by around £38. This will be offset by an expected £58 in savings from producing more green energy, reducing operating costs and securing finance at low rates. However inflation is still expected to increase affecting labour, chemical and energy costs adding around £88 to the bill.
South West Water forecasts an average annual water and sewerage bill in 2020 of approximately £588 based on its recommended proposals.
- Customers, groups and organisations have until 14 September to give their feedback on the proposals by going to southwestwater.co.uk/waterfuture or writing to FREEPOST WATERFUTURE. Those signing up for free email updates on the company's plans will be entered into monthly draws for £50 shopping vouchers until December.
Published: 16 August 2013
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