Fill the reservoirs now

I post beneath two Q and As on filling reservoirs now from high running rivers and the  need for investment in extra capacity. They are slowly moving to tackle the water shortage.

 

Question:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to increase reservoir and water storage capacity. (83504)

Tabled on: 09 November 2022

Answer:
Rebecca Pow:

The Government recognises the need to improve the resilience of our water supplies and is committed to a twin track approach to improving water resilience. This involves investing in new supply infrastructure and action to reduce water company leaks and improve water efficiency.

The National Framework for Water Resources, published in March 2020, sets out the strategic water needs for England to 2050 and beyond. The Framework sets out how we will reduce demand, halve leakage rates, develop new water supply infrastructure, move water to where itis needed, increase drought resilience of water supplies, and reduce the need for drought measures.

Water companies are using the £469 million made available by Ofwat in the current Price Review period (2019-2024) to progress the infrastructure required. Before the end of this year, water companies will publish their statutory draft Water Resources Management Plans for consultation, that will set out how they will improve drought resilience and secure water supplies in the long term.

The Government also supports the agricultural sector with its Farming Transformation Fund grants for the construction of new reservoirs.

The answer was submitted on 17 Nov 2022 at 10:53.

Question:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to help refill reservoirs from river abstraction, in the context of increases in rainfall and river water flow. (83503)

Tabled on: 09 November 2022

Answer:
Rebecca Pow:

Water companies are taking action to improve public water supplies, especially refilling reservoirs. They are using drought permits to allow them to take water from rivers, including new sources, or to modify or suspend conditions in their existing abstraction licences. When the Environment Agency (EA) determine a drought permit application they will ensure there are mitigating conditions in place to protect the environment. The EA is encouraging water companies to submit drought permit applications early to help improve supplies over winter in preparation for next spring and summer. The EA has granted 18 drought permits for South West Water, Thames Water, Severn Trent Water and South East Water. Defra has also determined a drought order for Yorkshire Water. The EA is determining further permit applications for Southwest Water, Yorkshire Water and Thames Water.

We are also helping the agriculture sector refill their reservoirs over the winter. The EA is monitoring and forecasting flows to advise the farming sector when they can abstract in line with their licence conditions, which protect the environment and other water users. October rainfall was typically above average meaning that many farmers could start refilling their reservoirs and we are encouraging them to maximise all opportunities to do this, given November is forecast to be dry in many parts of the country.

The answer was submitted on 17 Nov 2022 at 11:06.

 

 

125 Comments

  1. rose
    November 22, 2022

    Keep making this vital point Sir John; and keep going after those £11 billion . The man at the Despatch Box looks really rattled each time you do.

    Meanwhile, someone else has tumbled to what happened in the coup d’etat:

    https://thecritic.co.uk/issues/december-january-2023/how-the-bank-broke-the-government/

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      November 22, 2022

      Sir John would have better spent his energies a few decades ago at Q&A asking what steps would be taken to stop the then-to-be private water companies from shutting down spare capacity and profiteering by charging waste companies to fill in reservoirs and then selling the land for building purposes. The same goes for gas storage.

      How is he going to blame that on the BoE and the OBR?

    2. Sharon
      November 22, 2022

      I heard that about the B of E via Sceptics Daily. But thanks for the link, which I hadn’t read before.

      Do the likes of B of E think people don’t know what’s going on? I expect so, because we’re all ‘too stupid’!

    3. Ian Wragg
      November 22, 2022

      The BoE was the one that spooked the market. Truss was right with her approach.
      Davos couldn’t have a real tory in power so they engineered a coup.
      We are now in the final chapter of destruction by the sickly hunt and fishy. Two people no one voted for.

      1. Ian Wragg
        November 22, 2022

        I see Shelk ate reviewing their decision to expand exploration in the North Sea after the socialist tax grab by our useless pair in Downing Street.
        Who’d have thought it.
        Never mind we’ll freeze to net zero quicker.

        1. Berkshire Alan
          November 22, 2022

          Ian

          Hardly a surprise is it, they invest to make a profit, not pay taxes.

      2. glen cullen
        November 22, 2022

        Fully agree – but who in the Tory party led the BoE coup …which resulted (yet again) in an EU facing PM and Channcellor

        1. rose
          November 23, 2022

          Whoever led it, Glen, Gove played a prominent part with his socialist darts: “unfunded tax cuts” and “borrowing to cut tax”. He never once mentioned the gas bill package or the inherited quarter trillion deficit. I can think of several other names but won’t list them now.

    4. Ian B
      November 22, 2022

      @rose +1, Thankyou for the link. Is it a conspiracy when it is the same people involved in anti UK briefings? Especialy as those we voted to do a job keep getting undermind by those we don’t.

    5. R.Grange
      November 22, 2022

      Hmm, it looks as if our good host has been far too gentle in his criticism of the BoE. If I’ve understood this right, it was responsible for regulating LDIs, in which pension funds were getting heavily involved, but failed to do so properly. That is potentially calamitous.

      Why have those people not been drummed out of the City of London?

      1. rose
        November 23, 2022

        R Grange, I suppose the City knows full well that Mr Bailey couldn’t stop the Pension Funds borrowing to invest as long as Gordon Brown’s Bank was printing money and holding down interest rates. The Pension Funds, like every other saver, had nowhere safe to put their capital and get a return. They are all in it together.

    6. Peter
      November 22, 2022

      Water companies should address the leaks.

      They have the cheek to force properties in my area to have smart meters – which I don’t want -under the pretext that it is the customers fault that there are water shortage issues.

      Another monopoly utility gifted to private companies to rake in big profits but ignore basic maintenance and development.

    7. acorn
      November 22, 2022

      Rose, you will not find an £11 billion loss on APF Gilts in the Treasury’s accounts. Gilts are held at there amortised cost. Because the coupon cash flow from, and the redemption value of, those Gilts, does not change regardless of what happens in the secondary Gilts casino market. All explained in the National Loans Fund Accounts.

    8. turboterrier
      November 22, 2022

      Rose
      Not too sure it broke it,they have damn nigh destroyed it. If it is percieved that is at all feasible, then all he’ll is going to break out and there is going to be a big loss of credibility. It will be interesting to see if resignations follow.

  2. Mark B
    November 22, 2022

    Good morning.

    For a country surrounded by water and having good rainfall through most of the year, I am surprised that we have even to consider such measures. But then again, when you have so many more (and increasing) mouths to feed I guess that this is going to happen.

    Water companies are using the £469 million made available by Ofwat . . .

    Why are we subsidizing private, and some cases foreign owned, industry to do what is effectively their jobs ?

    Someone else, other than the British, who we wish to give our money away.

    1. Shirley M
      November 22, 2022

      71% of UK water companies are foreign owned. No doubt profits made here are used to subsidise water costs in their owners country.

    2. Hope
      November 22, 2022

      Good luck! Spelman made it clear in 2010 EU stopped such actions demanding leaks were the cure. Nothing else has happened over 12.5 years still under EU environment level playing field! Waste of question unless to build false hope. Better to ask EU if we can have water to cope with Tory mass immigration!

      1. jerry
        November 22, 2022

        @Hope. Strange how other EU member states seem to be able to build reservoirs etc (heck Germany can still burn the one of the dirtiest of coals), so perhaps the real problem was the then usual UK gold plating of EU directives, often for domestic partisan reasons, after all 2010 was the year of Austerity and “There’s no money left”…

    3. jerry
      November 22, 2022

      @Mark B; Between 1945 and the mid 1980s, the nation by way of the elected govt managed to both maintain and modernize our utility services, despite a rapidly increasing population, both in numbers and area. The problem now is not an inability to construct but an unwillingness to spend on infrastructure.

      Short enough for you you now, Mr Moderator?…

  3. rose
    November 22, 2022

    What a suprise! Shell is to review their investment in this country following the smash and grab raid. It wouldn’t make any difference to them if they were to leave.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 22, 2022

      Windfall taxes are profoundly wrong, damage the economy and deter investment. Mugabe taxation “you pay what we say you have to pay”. But if we are to have them what about ones for hedge fund profits and people who marry £ billionaires that is rather an “unearned” windfall Rishi. Perhaps use the money raised to compensate the people whose modes saving have be devalued & robbed by your vast currency debasement policies? Yet you now say inflation is your number one priority. Increasing it or reducing it this time?

      1. Lifelogic
        November 22, 2022

        modest savings

      2. glen cullen
        November 22, 2022

        Agree – let companies and business keep their profits, let them flourish and grow

    2. X-Tory
      November 22, 2022

      The ‘budget’ was a calamity. You don’t tax your way to economic growth! And what is amazing is that even a small ‘start-up’ party can see this and develop a better economic growth policy than the party of government! Read this and you’ll see what I mean: https://britishdems.co.uk/2022/11/20/the-tory-betrayal-of-british-industry/

      Truss had the right diagnosis (a need for growth) but the wrong prescription (wrong tax cuts and an unbalanced budget), but the Sunak/Hunt ‘dumbvirate’ is even worse – they can’t even get the diagnosis right, so haven’t a cat in hell’s chance of implementing the right policies.

      The only thing I don’t understand is why our kind host – who has more understanding of economics in his toenail clippings than Sunak and Hunt will ever have – doesn’t switch to an alternative party, or even start up his own!

      1. Timaction
        November 22, 2022

        The Tory’s are not conservative and haven’t been since Thatcher. It’s just a convenient party of Liberal Consocialists.

      2. jerry
        November 22, 2022

        @X-Tory; “You don’t tax your way to economic growth!”

        It worked in the 1950s, bar for the immediate post war Attlee govt, but then it wasn’t so much the high tax rates but over burdensome Socialist regulation that stifled growth, a permit for everything, a mistake seemingly being made again, due to the bleating of eco-worriers and NIMBYs etc. Want economic growth, cut business and planning regulation, not taxes.

      3. Iago
        November 22, 2022

        X-Tory, you have made me laugh. After a trying day, finished by a visit to a unisexual public toilet and flea bites on the train, thank you.

    3. jerry
      November 22, 2022

      @rose; So they say! Now why would they do such a ting, in effect skinning their own nose to spite someone else, given they’ll still be making one hell of a lot of money even after the proposed windfall tax. The way some talk, people from outsider the UK might be forgiven for believing the UK Chancellor had announced effective nationalization (a 100% tax rate)…

    4. Mark
      November 22, 2022

      It should be noted that the total tax take on oil and gas is 75%. More than that on renewables, which will rise to 70%, while their ROC bonuses remain exempt from windfall tax. With the reduction in investment offset the economics must look poor indeed. Probably exactly what Hunt and Sunak intended. They believe in keeping us cold, poor and hungry for the sake of net zero.

  4. Cuibono
    November 22, 2022

    How does one reduce demand for anything whilst shoehorning into the country literally thousand of new people?
    Presumably, at some point in the rather unpleasant Victorian era the authorities bossily took over our water supplies. Now they have betrayed ( they are very good at that) the trust put in them to fulfil their implicit promise….to keep us supplied.

    Ministers could stand outside Westminster in the VERY frequent rain catching the water in their NHS pots and pans?

  5. rose
    November 22, 2022

    What do people think about the telephone switch to “Digital Voice”? Is it an unnecessary expense to an inferior system as when we lost analogue television, or is it going to be an improvement as BT say?

    1. Sharon
      November 22, 2022

      I think the switch is an unnecessary expense, and as usual will leave customers with no choice.
      We pay for a landline because it means there is a means of calling out in the event of a power cut. And I know they are not that common, but some areas of Britain were left without power for days last year. Also, we need a landline for our burglar alarm system to dial out.

      We, along with many others contacted BT, and I believe they halted the switch, and it’s now just businesses they are converting.

    2. Lifelogic
      November 22, 2022

      Since every business you call now has long waits until you even get through you need a reliable line that will not drop as so many mobile calls do. I suspect sound quality, longer delays (latency) in the transmission and dropped calls will all be worse. But cheaper for them to provide. Even many 999 calls are not answered promptly now.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 22, 2022

        Excess deaths in the UK still ~ 15% up, over 200 people a day and very few Covid related. So how much of it is Vaccines and how much is NHS incompetence and delays. Many are young people too and one would expect rates to be lower overall after Covid bringing many deaths forwards. Cancer seems to be far higher, heart issue, blood clotting… seems certain that we will have more deaths than were caused by Covid and far more quality life years as younger people too.

        Yes it seems the government are not at all interested in these 200+ deaths a day. As they still push boosters & rather ineffective and often rather dangerous “vaccines”. Doubtless it will mainly be blamed on long covid by the politicians.

        1. Peter
          November 22, 2022

          Lifelogic,

          What have covid issues got to do with the topic of water storage?

          How are you getting on with the latest crackdown on long and multiple posts ?

          ‘Carry on regardless’ I suppose.

        2. Barbara
          November 22, 2022

          Don’t forget the large reported uptick in miscarriages, foetal abnormalities and stillbirths.

      2. Know-Dice
        November 22, 2022

        LL, the back end at the exchange is already digital (IP) all BT are trying to do is put the analogue to digital in the customer’s premises. We have used VOIP since 2006 and it works fine even on domestic Internet access. The issue is loss of power, but I guess that there are plenty of backup solutions around… Just plug it into your EV 🤔

    3. MFD
      November 22, 2022

      Rosie, as someone who has already moved to digital phone with Jurassic Fibre, I find it very good and much cheaper.
      I would not like to go back to BT, a very woke company. Jurassic Fibre has a great ethos and their customer relationship is very helpful and prrsonal.

    4. a-tracy
      November 22, 2022

      rose, I hadn’t heard of this, is this why old-fashioned telegraph poles are being put up near my parents for new lines, seems pretty old-school and disruptive to the residents if so.

      1. Know-Dice
        November 23, 2022

        Around here they are digging up the roads and not repairing them very well 🙁

      2. rose
        November 23, 2022

        We’ve just had a brand new telegraph pole displace the old one outside our house which had been there as long as anyone could remember. No notice or explanation. It was a major operation which shut the street, with a fleet of vehicles and men in hi viz. It did seem odd.

  6. Cuibono
    November 22, 2022

    From The Guardian August 15th 2022

    “Even some Conservative MPs are saying that the money water company bosses make is “unacceptable”. Former environment minister Rebecca Pow, who had water in her remit, said that the regulator should be taking stricter action and giving companies hefty fines.

    She told the Guardian: “These salaries are unacceptable if they can’t with a clear conscience provide clean, plentiful and sustainable water.”

    1. Hope
      November 22, 2022

      She is utterly clueless.

      1. jerry
        November 22, 2022

        @Hope; Oh right, so a Govt Minister expects clean and plentiful quaffable water to come out of water tapes, yet you call her “utterly clueless”, tell us then, what do you think should be coming out of such tapes, crude oil, sand, sewage?…

  7. Mick
    November 22, 2022

    Yes do but don’t fill them too much or will have illegals in dinghy’s coming across in them😡

    1. jerry
      November 22, 2022

      @Mick; Of course we could always offer citizenship to these illegals, in exchange for them building a few new reservoirs, papers on completion – I bet many might well be up for such a deal, even if they have to use picks, shovels and wheelbarrows! 😛

  8. Shirley M
    November 22, 2022

    Please excuse my pessimism, but how do they reduce demand when they are increasing the population by millions? Is water to be rationed, along with energy? I assume all those extra people are paying water rates (or the taxpayer is, on their behalf). Do the (mostly foreign owned) water companies use the extra money to fix leaks and create more supplies, or just pocket the extra profits?

    1. Cuibono
      November 22, 2022

      +1
      Air next!
      They virtually did that with their disgusting masks.

    2. Christine
      November 22, 2022

      The Government could make water meters mandatory. This would reduce demand.

      There are many ways to reduce usage. Our household collects rainwater and recycles bath water for use in our garden.

      1. Bloke
        November 22, 2022

        Well said & done Christine. Also house designs use drinking-quality water to flush toilets wastefully. Buildings could be designed to route roof rainwater for sensible purposes.

        1. turboterrier
          November 22, 2022

          Bloke

          Grey water systems should be installed with every new build be it domestic, commercial, or industrial.

        2. Barbara
          November 22, 2022

          You’re complaining that our water is too clean, now?

      2. Shirley M
        November 22, 2022

        We have 4 water buts, one of them a very large one, and they are permanently full as it has rained every day or feels like it) here since our two days of heatwave, but we still have a hose ban. WHY do we still have a hose ban?

        If they are going to concrete over every inch of land for housing and other non agricultural purposes, then we need much bigger catchment areas for rainwater.

    3. Sharon
      November 22, 2022

      I pondered that phrase, ‘reduce demand’! How can that happen?

      More likely they’ll charge more and more to stop us using water for washing ourselves and cleaning cars.

      1. Killcullen
        November 22, 2022

        But the plan is you will own nothing, be dirty and be happy, well according to the WEF guy.

      2. a-tracy
        November 22, 2022

        The adverts have already started Sharon, a patronising little child singing a little ditty on the radio, 4-minute shower maximum, selling and promoting timers!

        Could you save your 4 minutes up and have two 14 minutes per week if you’d prefer, lol. What may be required in Southern Europe shouldn’t be required in rainy GB.

    4. Lifelogic
      November 22, 2022

      “The Government recognises the need to improve the resilience of our water supplies and is committed to a twin track approach to improving water resilience.”

      “Resilience” rather than capacity I note so banning hosepipes and charging more I assume. I also note that the net zero agenda and UK energy policy seems to be designed to damage energy supply “resilience” and vastly increase the costs of UK energy. It has worked very well in doing this and Rishi is continuing with it. Without market rigging and taxes coal can be about 7p a KWH and electricity about 16p even at todays energy prices. But they prefer many UK industries and jobs to leave the UK it seems.

      1. Cuibono
        November 22, 2022

        +many
        As I contemplated the appalling quality of some new hand towels yesterday I saw the plan in awful clarity. ( Also chomped through some very gristly mince).
        It always was to remove our ability to manufacture/grow/rear and compete internationally.
        Or even to provide for ourselves.
        Seen that about the Chinese-owned steel production?
        What were the incentives for this to be done to us? I do remember Lawson saying we did not need manufacturing!

    5. Lifelogic
      November 22, 2022

      To reduce demand they charge more and have hose pipe bans , usually just when you need the water most.

    6. turboterrier
      November 22, 2022

      Shirley M

      Classic. It is lovely to dream isn’t it?

    7. Mark
      November 22, 2022

      Under the EU Water Directive, which has yet to be expunged from UK law the emphasis is on reducing demand rather than providing new resources. It won’t be long before you will only be permitted a tepid shower than shuts off after 2 minutes automatically. Getting a toilet that flushes properly is also becoming harder.

    8. glen cullen
      November 22, 2022

      Our water and reservoirs capacity are based on decades of census data and required future need ….its doesn’t counter for the influx of an extra 10 million immigrants (documented and undocumented) over the past decade

  9. Narrow Shoulders
    November 22, 2022

    So we had an unprecedented dry spell brought on by “climate change” in the early part of the year and we were ordered to change the way we used water (while leaks were not routinely fixed). It has now rained heavily every day for a month and a half. Has capacity been addressed, have leaks been addressed or will users just be asked to change their behaviour to accommodate the massively increased demand.

    I am not against privatisation per se but when the regulator has no teeth, demand outstrips supply and that supply is a monopoly I don’t think I am a fan.

    I am also not a fan of legislating to solve every issue but I do think the regulator in these privatised industries should be permitted to force these organisations to compensate their customers for restricted supply. Loss of profits concentrates the mind, that is the job of competition.

  10. BW
    November 22, 2022

    I can’t get off the subject. Just received an email from the council. Yes John. Your council, telling me we are the worst funded council from central government in the country. This is the precursor to the “have to raise council tax email” The council have just told me of another reduction in waste services. Next year they will no doubt arbitrarily increase my tax with note paper which would do justice if it were headed by Dick Turpin.
    As my MP who has no influence in our national Parliament please have some influence locally. After all you were voted in to represent us locals. Please demand an increase to local funding, which we already know will be fruitless. So then apply pressure to stop any increase in council tax next year by asking them to reduce waste in their own departments. Please don’t give the same old bull that they are independent. I don’t have a say in the poll tax, I have to pay it. you don’t have a say in government. Please do this one thing for you constituents.
    Yes I know you will write a letter to the council, they will have a good laugh. You can then go back to the trough thoroughly pleased that you have done your bit

    Reply The Council is now run by a Lib Dem led administration. Government grants for schools and Council purposes have gone up, and I have just helped win extra cash for Councils for social care. It is up to the Council to run local budgets well. I have urged them to stop wasting so much money on road closures and highway schemes to stop cars, vans and emergency vehicles get around easily.

    1. Berkshire Alan
      November 22, 2022

      BW
      I see they (Wokingham Council) are now starting a consultation (yes another one) to see if they can gain control of “moving traffic offences” in their area.
      No, not making it up, all to be potentially controlled by a bank of camera’s in various locations.
      Clearly another potential revenue raising exercise from the already hard pressed motorist.
      Meanwhile the roads in the area are in an absolute disgraceful state, and getting worse as potholes increase in number by the day, and huge stretches of roads are simply crumbling before our eyes.
      I completed their new survey this morning rejecting this idea, as it would seem we are now entering a George Orwell nightmare of complete monitoring of the populous, with camera’s everywhere.

  11. Donna
    November 22, 2022

    Recognising the need for something and actually doing it are very different things, as we have learned over the past 12 completely ineffectual years of “Conservative” Government.

    But give the lady some credit: she did actually attempt to answer the question, which makes a pleasant change.

    Meanwhile, Jenrick’s lips were moving yesterday. So it looks like the WetCONs, installed in Government by the Bank of England, really do want to write the Conservative Party’s Epitaph.

    1. Clough
      November 22, 2022

      She answered it only by announcing that large amounts more of taxpayers’ money are being shovelled in the direction of the water companies. She failed to state how, if at all, those companies would be held to their undertakings. Not least about leakages, where the water companies have flagrantly failed to reach the targets they undertook. Of course she knows that the regulator is not to be given any real powers, so the water companies can always say one thing and do another.

      Sir John did not ask specifically about the much-needed new reservoirs to serve the nearly 10 million extra people in England since the last one was built around 1980 (1981-2021 Census figures). So she didn’t need to say anything about that either.

      1. glen cullen
        November 22, 2022

        +1

    2. turboterrier
      November 22, 2022

      Donna

      When they write our history years down the track the students will never ever believe just how blind and stupid the vast majority of our so-called politicians were when they were sold the five-card tricks they have been picking p over the last few years. They have been taken in by so many scams and cons and achieved what, to get where?
      It’s enough to make grown men cry.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        November 22, 2022

        Turbo. Enough to make grown up men AND women cry. The solutions to many problems are so visible to many of us abd yet this government is doing everything it can to ignore common sense. Councils say they are not getting funded enough but how much waste is there? There is enough money for foreign aid, Ukraine, lockdowns and illegal immigrants who have contributed nothing but no money for us. I can’t see anything changing in the future. Just a life of strife and toil for youngsters to prop up others who do nothing and those on extortionate wages to rip the public off. Oh to be able to emigrate outside of Europe. Give me a country that is a true sovereign state and not one under the thumb of the unelected, the EU and unwanted global groups.

  12. Dave Andrews
    November 22, 2022

    When the water companies are contemplating desalination plants, perhaps that £469m won’t go very far.

  13. Sakara Gold
    November 22, 2022

    Never mind the lack of new reservoirs, Britain’s waterways have never been in a sorrier state.

    Many of them have been dredged, straightened, or concreted over. Those left are subject to unsustainable abstractions, or they are routinely used as overflow sewage pipes by profiteering water companies with scant legal pressure to reform and across the country, rivers and streams are flooded with farm waste as it flashes off agricultural land. Not to mention the plethora of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that are routinely found in the smelly toxic soup that flows past our riverside country pubs

    The performance of the privatised Engish water/sewage companies is jolly well not good enough – and the only way to remedy the situation is to nationalise them

    1. Peter2
      November 22, 2022

      Very little dredging has been done in recent years SG.
      Your desire for nationalisation is an example of the triumph of hope over experience.

  14. formula57
    November 22, 2022

    Is there missing the Q and A on filling reservoirs now from high running rivers? I can only see one set dealing with storage capacity.

    1. Mark
      November 22, 2022

      I found some data for the Severn Trent reservoirs showing they bottomed at 40.7% full on 26th September and are now back to 60.8%. I also noted that Norwegian reservoirs, which had been scraping along at record low levels for the time of year, have made a good recovery, which is good news for our electricity supply.

  15. James Freeman
    November 22, 2022

    National Strategy: force everyone to use less water, simples!

  16. None of the Above
    November 22, 2022

    Why is OFWAT handing out almost half a billion pounds (of, presumably, Taxpayers money) to a private company?

    1. Mark B
      November 22, 2022

      This is what I asked above. I am still waiting on a reply.

  17. Old Albion
    November 22, 2022

    I contacted South East water and pointed out that here in the South East we are under a hosepipe ban (as a result of the hot summer) However, since the ban has been applied, it hasn’t stopped raining. In fact my garden has been under 3″ of water twice. Last week I had to travel to Yalding in Kent but couldn’t get there as all around the Medway roads and fields were submerged.
    This prompted me to ask were SE water going to lift the ban now? Came the answer No! the reservoirs are not full.
    Which additionally prompts me to ask; where the hell is all this rain going then?

    1. Mark B
      November 22, 2022

      If everyone was on amter then there would be no ban as all the water consumed could be charged. If however you pay through the old rates system you can use as much as you like, so, I argue, the only way they can maintain profits is by reducing demand and thereby supply and, the best means to that, is to impose a hose pipe ban.

      See how this works ? 😉

      It is abit like OPEC reducing oil supply and driving up the price due to scarcity.

  18. acorn
    November 22, 2022

    These ministerial replies are a joke. They never contain any detail that the opposition could hold them accountable for. The National Water Framework is gathering dust on various Quango and Water company shelves. England’s water storage vision is in parallel to its natural gas storage vision.

    Did you know there hasn’t been a new drinking water reservoir built in the south of England for over forty years. Portsmouth Water has started building a small one, at a cost of £120 million, which will be filled by springs and operation by 2029. Anglian Water is building two new reservoirs at a cost of £3.3 billion; both are planned to be supplying water by 2035.

    1. Barbara
      November 22, 2022

      The EU told us not to build reservoirs, as they didn’t approve of them. So we didn’t, and continue not to.

      1. glen cullen
        November 22, 2022

        They still adopt a policy of wilding and natural waterways and reservoirs …the level playing field kicks in

      2. hefner
        November 22, 2022

        Telegraph 09/08/2022 ‘Water companies sold off reservoirs that could have eased drought’.
        20/08/2022 Mirror ‘Water firms in drought-hit UK flogged 35 reservoirs in five years’.

        I guess it has very little to do with the EU, much more likely with the UK management of those. Spain doubled the number of its reservoirs to 1172 between 1975 and 2000.

  19. Stred
    November 22, 2022

    East Sussex is at last proposing sites for 2 additional reservoirs. By the time the planning process has been completed in will be years before any construction work is done.
    While driving through France this parched summer I noticed that many farmers had succeeded in growing crops by using their own reservoirs. Making this possible in the UK rather than paying them to rewild would be a good idea, no doubt frowned on by our green civil servants.

  20. Bloke
    November 22, 2022

    Rebecca Pow replies ‘reduce demand’.
    How much water does just ONE person consume in their lifetime here?
    Multiply that by the increase in population per day to see how demand can reduce.

  21. Keith Collyer
    November 22, 2022

    Wow, the tinfoil hat brigade are really in force in these comments

    1. outsider
      November 22, 2022

      Dear Keith Collyer, you are spot on. Is it even worth pointing out;
      1) Hosepipe bans were a regular feature before privatisation even though the population was a fifth lower. The have become the exception, except perhaps in Cornwall.
      2) Investment has multiplied many times over since privatisation. It was always at the end of the Public Sector queue.
      3) Investment is private not from taxpayers, though customers
      ultimately pay. The companies love investment because if they bring it on budget they make a return.
      4) Returns and prices are set by Ofwat, which sometimes vetos schemes to keep prices down.
      5) UK water and sewerage prices are still markedly lower than, say, France or Germany.
      6) Drinking water quality has improved to a high level, rivers are cleaner* and sewage treatment has transformed many beaches. The canal system is nothing to do with the water companies.

      * When I was a schoolboy near the tidal Thames, you were rushed to hospital to have your stomach pumped if you tipped off a boat into the river. Now there are fish.

  22. Original Richard
    November 22, 2022

    What about a Conservative Government not following a far left Labour policy of massive immigration to reduce water consumption as well as of course not following the other far left Labour initiated policies of CAGW/Net Zero, high tax, high spend (including on vanity projects like HS2), and running an enormous civil service/bureaucracy?

    If the CBI, whoever they represent because they do not publish a membership list, want to Import immigrant labour then they should pay an infrastructure levy for each immigrant and fund their private medical care.

    1. Hat man
      November 22, 2022

      What do you mean ‘if’ the CBI want more immigration, OR? Did you not notice that Tony Danker, the CBI’s director-general, called just yesterday at their Birmingham conference for relaxing immigration restrictions, so that more foreign workers can be employed. Is this new? No. A year ago in October, we heard s similar refrain from the CBI president Lord Karan Bilimoria: the UK must bring in more immigrants to deal with shortages. We had nearly a quarter of a million come here over the last year quite simply because certain people wanted them here, and they make no bones about saying so. There’s no mystery about what’s going on.

  23. glen cullen
    November 22, 2022

    The Tories have a real competitor – Keir Starmer today at the CBI taking about less immigration, removing the business rates, increasing the number of training places for doctors & nurses …about talking up ‘growth’

    1. Donna
      November 22, 2022

      And scrapping/reforming the House of Frauds.

      The most recent polls have Sunak/Hunt’s BluSocialist Party on 21% – 28%. That’s obliteration territory ….. and thoroughly deserved.

      1. glen cullen
        November 22, 2022

        That’s the biggy …scaping the house of lords

  24. Brian Veillard
    November 22, 2022

    Government “Plans” tend towards “all mouth and no trousers.”

  25. Roy Grainger
    November 22, 2022

    I see they are planning to “reduce demand” for water. Presumably in the same way they’ve reduced demand for petrol and diesel and coal and electricity – by high prices and rationing and penal regulation.

  26. glen cullen
    November 22, 2022

    The government website ref reservoirs tells you everything about licensing and inspection regulations, however it doesn’t tell you anything about security & sustainability of supply, the ratio of population /reservoirs holding /location …doesn’t mention any real planning (but that’s been left to the EU water directive regulations for a long time) We can’t even dredge our rivers without consulting the EU rule book.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reservoirs-owner-and-operator-requirements

    1. Mark
      November 22, 2022

      I did find this page of local water current sitreps.

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/water-situation-local-area-reports

      1. glen cullen
        November 22, 2022

        Very useful data

  27. IanT
    November 22, 2022

    The cost of Net Zero has been largely hidden but is very real and many billions (if not trillions) of pounds.

    The reality is that the UK can make little impact on global carbon emmissions. This is ultimately down to the largest emmitters such as China, the US and India. What we can do, is try to protect ourselves from the impact of things that are outside of our control. The threat to the UK would appear to be from drought and flood. The Government should be increasing water storage and improving flood defenses (and improving ‘drainage’ capability). This is the “Green” initiative that would make most sense to me.

    1. glen cullen
      November 22, 2022

      …and our government is quite happy to take us back to the stone-age

    2. Timaction
      November 22, 2022

      No. The threat to the UK are the legacy parties and their net stupid policy whilst exporting our manufacturing. To then import the same goods produced by dirty Chinese, Indian power stations.

  28. Cuibono
    November 22, 2022

    Starmer might be keen to renationalise and the “drought” stricken would welcome that!
    Amazingly he is now the knight on a white charger who plans to rescue us from mass immigration.
    You could not make this up!

    1. turboterrier
      November 22, 2022

      Cuibono

      Bless bless at least he is trying. It is one thing to talk the talk but will he do it when he gets into power?

  29. Ralph Corderoy
    November 22, 2022

    ‘I post beneath two Q and As’
    I think only one pair got posted.

  30. Bert Young
    November 22, 2022

    Water companies should only be owned by British companies . Customers should also be allowed to select which Water company serves them . The cost and record of Thames Water is shocking and their management ought to be forced out of office .

  31. a-tracy
    November 22, 2022

    When Rebecca said, Water companies are using the £469 million made available by Ofwat in the current Price Review period (2019-2024) to progress the infrastructure required. Is that the English and Welsh taxpayers?

    Why on earth would the government do that if it is a private operation making lots of money?

    How do English and Welsh water provision and reservoir capacity compare to Scotland’s public water companies since 1989?

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      November 22, 2022

      A-TRACY. I don’t remember ever having problems with the water supply in Scotland but then to be fair in the South West we had summers where we didn’t get a single dry day. I can tell you that the water is charged with your council tax and it’s a hell of a lot lower than in England. We have a smaller property and far less land here in England but are paying almost a £100 more a month.

  32. jerry
    November 22, 2022

    Err, but Sir John, what has this got to do with the Govt, any Govt, after all did you not help to privatize the water industry, how come you now think Ministers (or Ofwat) should be telling private companies how to manage their corporate affairs, if an industry needs such a high level of regulation simply to keep reservoirs full is that not an admission of private sector failure, just as much as it has been the failure of some to keep our rivers, beached and inshore clear of raw sewage?!

    Reply It is regulatory failure as the companies need licences to abstract

    1. jerry
      November 22, 2022

      @JR reply; It is regulatory failure”

      Except the Office of Water Services (Ofwat), now the Water Services Regulation Authority, didn’t exist before 1988 and privatization, nor did it need to.

      If structural errors are found in a building, due to a design error the architect is still held professionally responsible, even years later, not the on-going day-to-day maintenance staff trying to cope with the design flaw – why do some politicos always think they should be immune from blame when ‘design’ errors are later found in policies they had a direct hand in… 😡

      1. Mark
        November 23, 2022

        You are right to highlight design error. It is to be found in the EU Water Directive, which has dominated UK water policy since it was being devised in the 1990s.

        1. jerry
          November 23, 2022

          @Mark; Perhaps, although most other EU member states seem to have little problem building new reservoirs etc, but if the EU Water Directive is to blame, who signed the UK up to the Maastricht Treaty, and then gold plated so many EU Directives, the govt our host was a part of!

  33. Mark J
    November 22, 2022

    I agree with the protests against plans for a new massive embankment reservoir near Abingdon.

    It is a beautiful part of the countryside that will be ruined if this reservoir is ever built.

    I don’t see why rural areas should have to suffer, just to provide more infrastructure and resources for the overpopulated (and over-rated) area known as London.

    If London is in dire straights for water supply, then a new reservoir should be built IN London – not in areas outside.

    1. Richard II
      November 22, 2022

      The water is needed much more widely than ‘just’ in London, Mark. Thames Valley areas such as South Oxfordshire, West Oxfordshire, Reading and Wokingham have seen greater population % increases in the last ten years than London has.

      I don’t want countryside to be lost anywhere, but the problem is political: we’ve had successive governments that have opened the floodgates to incomers, but failed to ensure infrastructure was provided. And this government has devised a formula that requires local authorities to build in those areas.

      On that point I shall be looking to see if our host will support Theresa Villiers’ proposed amendments tomorrow to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. They would remove housing targets imposed on LAs and the requirement for councils to demonstrate a 5-year supply of housing land. I hope he will.

  34. The Prangwizard
    November 22, 2022

    The answer is ‘blah, blah, blah’. An answer written by a machine, spoken by a minister who has had the standard brain transplant to serve in government. Nothing clear is said, nothing decisive will happen.

    1. turboterrier
      November 22, 2022

      T P W

      Yes and the band played on

  35. Julian Flood
    November 22, 2022

    Sir John,

    The light lands of East Anglia when irrigated can grow maize for animal feed and biomass, sugar beet and wheat but our aquifers are being exploited to water the new local hub that is Cambridge, exploited to such an extend that this year the rivers ran dry. And still the houses come, hillsides of desirable residences huddled together without the infrastructure needed to support all those young families.

    So what do we get? Wind turbines and solar panels, and the second biggest white elephant in the Conservative Party’s playbox, Sizewell C, which will come in too expensive and far too late to help to reach Net Zero in any reasonable time frame.

    The UK needs food from our own land, reliable water supplies from a national water Grid and dependable energy.

    Does your party not understand?

    JF

  36. No Longer Anonymous
    November 22, 2022

    A new pipeline north to south would have been better than HS2, surely ?

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      November 22, 2022

      NLA. Yes that would maje sense but if it’s Scottish water Sturgeon will make it unaffordable to the English.

      1. Mark
        November 23, 2022

        That’s called malt whisky…

        The Scots keep the Irn Bru for themselves

  37. turboterrier
    November 22, 2022

    How refreshing to discover that there are leaders who refuse to be taken in by all these fear and control tactics.

    COP27: Africa’s Chance to Break From Climate Colonialism
    Forbes
    Tilak Doshi
    30 October 2022

    How refreshing! Africa’s top energy official, Amani Abou-Zeid, the African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, said earlier this month that African countries will use the UN’s COP27 climate talks in Egypt next month to advocate for “a common energy position that sees fossil fuels as necessary to expanding economies and electricity access”. No longer can it be taken for granted that countries in sub-Saharan Africa…………..

    Full article on:- http://stopthesethings.com/2022/11/18/cop27-that-african-leaders-reject-renewables-reset-press-for-fossil-fuelled-future/

  38. a-tracy
    November 22, 2022

    When builders build new estates, all are connected to the drains/sewerage and water system at the new homeowner’s expense. Our town has grown 13.5% or 4000+ extra people, 1000s of new homes in 20 years. What are the water companies in the area that now service those 2500+ homes expected to do in return for their guaranteed water rate income each year? How are they expected to increase capacity? Clean up local sewerage pools there is one just outside a special school!
    A set of homes was built in a water retention area and has had to have an ugly pumping station, with a dangerous, dirty pond constructed right at the front of the estate; perhaps they should have dug it out as a recycling reservoir for that estate. Any posh area would have had the brick box made into an attractive clock tower! Esp at one set of new homes built on another flood plane with a pump station is right at the entrance of the town. Do the water companies pay for these pumping stations, are they tasked with keeping the run-off ponds clean and clear?

  39. glen cullen
    November 22, 2022

    National Grid issues – then cancels – electricity shortage warning today …and its not even real winter yet – wind-turbines my arse, I want UK coal & UK gas
    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2022/11/22/national-grid-issues-then-cancels-electricity-shortage-warning/#comments

  40. glen cullen
    November 22, 2022

    “Today, the power sector is completely dependent on nuclear power and the use of gas and coal power to avoid the power system collapsing,” Norway’s energy report has warned. A warning that ‘should not be overlooked by its neighbours’.
    https://watt-logic.com/2022/11/22/norway-energy-security/?fbclid=IwAR3ilRVPiM_LyxaPejBtjxEnvxV_TTOjiS3UnBujsa31_WjR3mU9PZJIFZ8

  41. Mike Wilson
    November 23, 2022

    Wessex Water are an excellent company. Even at the height of the ‘drought’ their reservoirs were at over 60%. Water supply or sewage disposal issues are dealt with very efficiently. They even answer their phones!

    1. rose
      November 23, 2022

      Agreed. And a good history too.

Comments are closed.