Water companies outline £96bn infrastructure plans for next five-year investment period

Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash

Water companies have set out plans to almost double their spending on the network during asset management period (AMP) 8, 2025 to 2030.

The utilities filed their business plans to regulator Ofwat on Monday 2 October, asking for permission to hike customer bills to allow them to invest a combined £96bn in 2025-30.

If approved, these proposals will see a raft of infrastructure projects carried out in AMP8 to improve the reliability of clean water supplies and reduce sewage spills into rivers and seas.

Sector body Water UK said utilities had asked for approval to build 10 reservoirs as well to use cutting-edge technology and nature-based solutions to slash waste water overflows.

Water UK chief executive David Henderson said: “These record-breaking investment proposals will secure our water supply as we deal with a changing climate and a growing population.

“While increasing bills is never welcome, this investment in our country’s infrastructure is essential to ensure the security of our water supply. Water companies are seeking regulatory approval to reduce overflow spills into rivers and seas as fast as possible and to double the number of households receiving support to pay their bills.

“Ofwat now needs to back these plans that are both ambitious and vital so that we can provide the highest quality drinking water for a growing population, ensure the security of our water supply in the future and reduce the use of storm overflows as much as possible.”

Here is how some of the countries water companies plan on spending their budget:

Thames Water outlined plans to replace 500km of water mains, install 1M smart meters and commission the long-awaited Tideway Tunnel.

Anglian Water pledged to start planning for two new reservoirs, create an area of wetlands the size of 100 football pitches and renew 695km of vulnerable pipes.

Yorkshire Water said it would refurbish five reservoirs following condition surveys, as well as carrying out projects at poorly performing water pumping stations and replacing 746km of mains.

Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water) promised to replace 174km of asbestos cement pipes and continue with its programme to improve the safety of 29 dams. It will invest £3.5bn during AMP8.

Severn Trent said it would invest £12.9bn in AMP8. Plans include making biodiversity improvements at 26 sites, replacing 30ha of hard surfaces with sustainable drainage and installing 1,000 water-quality sensors in rivers.

South West Water will invest £2.8bn to upgrade a third of water treatment works in Devon and Cornwall, reduce leakage to less than 10%, create a water grid to ensure all strategic reservoirs are connected and invest in large reservoirs starting with Cheddar 2 in Bristol.

United Utilities’ £13.7bn plans include upgrading over 900km of water mains, reducing storm overflows by more than 60% by 2030 and strengthening the network.

Affinity Water will spend £2.1bn on actions including reducing leakage and river restoration.

Article by Greg Pitcher for New Civil Engineer

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