Water and waste water services in the South West are provided by three regulated water companies: South West Water, Wessex Water and Bristol Water (water only).
The key challenges for the sector nationally are reflected across the south west.
- Ageing infrastructure and the need to reduce interruptions to supply and sewer flooding.
- The need to reduce leakage by 16% and reduce per capita consumption.
- Moving to more sustainable energy use – to achieve the water industry’s target on being net-zero carbon by 2030.
- Managing the supply-demand balance with changing weather patterns increasing the likelihood of droughts, and environmental considerations reducing abstraction volumes coupled with population growth.
- Reducing customer bills whilst improving resilience, levels of service and providing additional support for vulnerable customers and those struggling to pay their water bills.
Ofwat’s recent regulatory settlement (PR19) sets out the total expenditure (totex) of each water company over the next Asset Management Plan period 2020-2025. For the water industry in England and Wales as a whole this amounts to £51billion over the next 5 years.
For the companies in the South West the agreed investment levels are:
- Bristol Water: £420m, including just under £30m to invest in improvements to service, resilience and the environment (but subject to the company’s appeal to the CMA).
- South West Water: £1822m including £312m to invest in improvements to service, resilience and the environment.
- Wessex Water: £2080m including £509m to invest in improvements to service, resilience and the environment.