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news round up

Monthly News Round Up: October

Aquatiere have filtered through the news to bring you a monthly round up of the latest headlines and developments in water filtration, treatment, and conservation.

Pollution

Welsh Water has admitted to dumping sewage near a dolphin habitat for a decade. Following a BBC investigation, the water company didn’t dispute the allegations and evidence stacked against them. Data was collected from 11 water plants in Wales. Ten of those plants have released untreated sewage into local waterways before overflow levels were reached. During periods of heavy rain, sewage systems overflow and water companies are allowed to release sewage when a certain level is reached. If sewage is not discharged, waste can back up into homes. Water companies are prohibited from discharging sewage before this level has been reached.

What makes matters worse is that there are only two rare dolphin sites in the UK, one in Wales the other in Scotland. Welsh Water have dumped sewage and polluted one of the two sites putting the local dolphin population at risk. A spokesperson for the company has reported that they aim to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Utilities

Water meters may be compulsory in the future, government advisors are likely to announce. With an increase in demand for water and additional stresses of droughts and floods, this may be the only solution. In addition to the impact of climate change, water companies have not invested as much as they should. Pipes are still in need of repair as a third of water is wasted through leaks. Also, no new reservoirs have been built in the last 30 years.

By installing water meters nationwide, those with higher incomes will be charged more for their higher usage of water. Currently, homeowners with swimming pools and larger gardens can use as much water as they need without having their usage monitored. The scheme aims to reduce water consumption by 20% per person by 2038.

Investment

It is no secret that water companies need to invest more into their antiquated systems in the UK. Fortunately, it seems that steps are being taken to spend money in the sector in order to make much needed improvements.

Water companies have proposed a £96 billion investment from 2025 to 2030. They are awaiting approval of their ambitious plans from Ofwat, as this would see a significant 90% investment increase. Investment is necessary to ensure that there is enough drinking water for a growing population and reduce the amount of sewage entering our waterways.

The investment plans include:

– Construction of ten new reservoirs to strengthen our water supplies.

– Take control of and repair leaks

– £11 billion will go towards reducing overflow spills

– Implement innovative technology at sewage plants to remove over a million tonnes of phosphorus from rivers.

Unfortunately, to fund these improvements water bills are set to increase in increments over the next five years. The average water bill in England is estimated to increase by £7 per month by 2025, and £13 per month by 2030. We will keep you updated in subsequent news round ups.

Regulations

The UK government is no longer adhering to the EU’s standards for regulating water quality in England. While part of the EU, England followed the water framework directive (WFD), which meant surveys of rivers were conducted annually. Since Brexit, the WFD was integrated into English law but without the requirement to conduct annual tests.

Campaigners fear the removal of compulsory annual testing could result in more pollution of England’s waterways. Furthermore, recent analysis found that many hazardous chemicals and pesticides banned by the EU since Brexit are still permitted in the UK.

Just 14% of rivers were deemed in good ecological health following the last full water assessment in 2019. Without compulsory regular assessments it will be as late as 2025 until we get a better idea of the state of our rivers, lakes and waterways. Hopefully by then it won’t be too late.

That’s all for this month’s news round up. Check back in November, for more on water pollution, conservation news and technology updates…