Mike Woolgar, Water Strategy Director at WSP comments on the 'Preparing for a Drier Future' report by the National Infrastructure Commission.


“It’s good news that the National Infrastructure Commission recognises the very real risks associated with droughts on people’s wellbeing, the environment and the UK’s economy. Water is just as much a resource as it is a commodity and a threat, and we welcome the NIC’s position of taking a holistic view on water management.

“The NIC echoes Ofwat’s call for simultaneous action on supply and demand which is necessary to deliver a resilient system but may prove challenging for water companies. Building new resources such as reservoirs and desalination plants has potentially substantial impacts on customer bills and will take several years to bring to fruition, and whilst rolling out smart meters will support demand management and customer engagement not all companies are currently in a position to do so.

“The report also contains interesting ideas such as the development of water transfers, as pre-figured in the Water UK work last year, which will require further exploration and collaboration between government agencies, local authorities, business and consumers. The NIC’s proposal that Ofwat runs a competition to develop such schemes may generate cost-effective and innovative solutions but as the Government assesses the feasibility of these proposals the big question remains who will pay for them and how will such payments be translated into customer bills?”


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