Study finds Investment hike vital to stem growing infrastructure failures

UK water firms need to up expenditure in infrastructure significantly to maintain their service standards according to soon-to-be-published findings for from a study for pan-water sector research funder, UK Water Industry Research.

The study’s lead organisation, Servelec Technologies, said the research revealed that the frequency of failures in water mains and sewers in the UK will increase unless infrastructure spending is stepped up.

The increased financing for the infrastructure upgrade will have to come from hikes in consumer bills according to the report. Using a water company finance model of the way water companies are financed in England and Wales, Servelec’s partners in the research, Frontier Economics, calculated that the the additional investment will add 0.7% to bills year-on-year up to 2050 - and increase of about 25% over the period.

Servelec’s technical director, George Heywood (pictured) said: “The report will advise UK water companies, the government and industry authorities of the level of investment that is required to achieve the replacement and rehabilitation needed to offset deterioration of UK water networks due to age and use, and the subsequent impact on the consumer. He went to say the study found that “if the industry does not increase expenditure then bursts, interruptions, flooding and pollution will happen more regularly, in opposition to the increasing service expectation of customers.

“Failing to increase expenditure now will result in significantly higher recovery costs in future years adding to the burden on the consumer and network infrastructure.”

UKWIR’s Long-Term Investment in Infrastructure project began in May 2016 to build a body of evidence for the UK water industry’s future infrastructure needs. It was undertaken by asset management specialist Heywood’s team and colleagues from Frontier Economics and Atkins Global to raise awareness of the issues with government and the industry’s stakeholders.