The water system in England and Wales delivers the best value for money of six major systems in Europe considered by new research, Water UK reported just before Christmas.
In a study commissioned by the trade body, international water expert Global Water Intelligence examined the quality of water and wastewater utilities in six European countries over the past 28 years, based on six key service performance indicators where robust comparisons were possible:
· water quality compliance,
· the quality of wastewater treatment,
· customer service,
· non-revenue water – the amount of water lost in the system through leakage, faulty meters or unauthorised use,
· charges and
· the total cost per person to run the service .
GWI found that the water sector in England and Wales has outperformed those in France, Ireland, Italy and Spain since 1990 in terms of the most important measures on water and sewerage. In five of the six key performance measures – including water quality, customer service and costs – the English and Welsh water sector is either the top performer or the most improved. In the sixth measure – the quality of sewage treatment – the English and Welsh water sector is the second top performer.
The report found that the water sector in Germany delivers a broadly similar quality service to that of England and Wales but does so at greater expense – with prices about 12% higher than in England and Wales.
Water UK chief executive Michael Roberts commented: “This research shows how well private water companies in England and Wales compare with some of their European counterparts, reflecting the benefits of £150bn investment over nearly thirty years. The water industry has come a long way since privatisation in 1989, and customers are now five times less likely to have interrupted water supplies, eight times less likely to suffer sewer flooding, and 100 times less likely to have low water pressure. The business plans that companies have put forward for 2020 to 2025 propose an extra £50bn of investment, which would see the service improved even further.”