SWW submits its draft Business Plan for 2010-15
South West Water has submitted its draft Business Plan for 2010-2015 to the industry regulator, Ofwat.
Developed following extensive consultation with customers and other stakeholders, the draft plan aims as far as possible to balance the needs of customers, the environment, the Government and investors.
The draft plan indicates that during the period the average bill will increase by less than £7 per year over the five years excluding inflation, reflecting an average increase in today's money of 1.4%.
South West Water Chief Executive Chris Loughlin said: "In response to what our customers told us, we have put forward a plan with prices as low as possible in each year and no sudden price shocks.
"This plan does not propose a major infrastructure investment such as we have seen in the past 18 years, with nearly £2billion invested in putting in place often first-time sewage treatment for communities all round the South West peninsula.
"Instead, the majority of the investment in 2010-2015 will be aimed at maintaining that infrastructure to safeguard the environmental and economic transformation brought about by Clean Sweep as well as our investments in water mains, leakage and water supply.
"We plan to specifically address the issue of climate change with investment in this period by championing low energy, low carbon solutions, water conservation and innovative solutions such as the restoration of upland bogs on Exmoor and Dartmoor. [see case study below].
"Thanks to our investment, tap water is near perfect at 99.97 per cent but we know there are areas where we can improve the taste so we plan to improve raw water sources and water mains to make our tap water everyone's favourite drink.
"Our aim is to be one of the best water companies in Britain by serving our customers better, looking after the environment and becoming more efficient, and this plan includes tough efficiency savings of £20million to achieve that in the face of major increases in our energy costs ."
The full Ofwat timetable for determining water company business plans can be found at http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/aptrix/ofwat/publish.nsf/Content/pr09
A summary of Part A of our business plan and other related documents can be found by following the links on the right.
Published: 11 August 2008
NOTES TO EDITORS
- Affordability: Our plans will increase the average bill by less than £7 per year over five years excluding inflation, or 1.4% in today's money. We have met our promise to customers of stable prices, with no sudden price shocks.
- Metering: In the last 10 years, 280,000 customers have seen their bills go down compared with 10 years ago thanks to switching to a meter, and we expect another 80,000 people to benefit in this way in the next five years. By 2015 we expect 82% of customers to have a water meter.
- Maintenance: The Clean Sweep coastal clean-up has transformed the bathing waters of the South West and given tourism a massive boost. It also means that South West Water has much more equipment to maintain than it did before: more complex UV (54) and micro-filtration (3) sewage treatment works treating waste to the highest possible standard more than any other water company in the UK. This is one of the biggest reasons why prices will need to go up during 2010-2015.
- Customer priorities: South West Water customers' service priority when we asked them was 'a safe water supply that is good to drink'. A £69million quality programme to improve raw water sources and improve water mains to improve the taste and odour of drinking water in specific areas is a key part of our investment in 2010-2015.
- Climate change: South West Water is working with partners to restore over 1,000 hectares of Exmoor to capture carbon and prevent erosion and flooding as climate change makes weather more severe. [see case study below]
- Environment: South West Water will be investigating or implementing 51 projects to restore important estuarine waters to sustain the marine ecology, support shellfishing, and protect bathing waters.
Case Study The Exmoor Mire Restoration Project
Investment during 2010-2015 will extend work South West Water is doing with Exmoor National Park, English Nature and the Environment Agency to re-wet drained moorlands and bring wildlife back to bogs, fens and upland streams.
The project on Exmoor is restoring habitats to improve the hydrology and ecology of upland peatlands to store carbon and encourage bio-diversity
For South West Water the scheme helps the upland moors to act as a 'sponge' during severe weather events, reducing the impact of storms further downstream. The natural filtering effect of the peat also has the benefit of delivering cleaner raw water to water treatment works.
Investment in 2010-2015 will continue this work and extend it to Dartmoor.
How does it work?
The old drainage systems and peat cutting sites on the high moorlands are being restored and repaired to create better water retention; improve flows in rivers in dry weather; improve raw water quality; benefit biodiversity; reduce soil erosion and help migrating fish. Longer term, these projects will help control our water treatment costs.
What are the benefits?
Fighting global warming and climate change Worldwide peatlands are huge carbon stores, but damaged areas release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere through oxidation processes. Restoration halts oxidation and promotes active peat growth which increases the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere. The restoration of peatlands could play a major role in mitigating against atmospheric CO2 rises.
Restoring important habitats The restoration work will improve the ecological condition of important Sites of Special Scientific Interest benefiting wildlife in the moorlands and the wider Exmoor area.
Re-establishment of natural stream hydrology in Exmoor headwaters Encouraging water retention in the upland wetlands will delay and weaken peak river flows while augmenting low base flows at times of low rainfall. This will help reduce erosion and flooding risks.
Gains to instream environment and aquatic ecology Improvements to the natural flow regime will improve water quality, with gains to all river life including salmon and trout which are common in the headwater reaches of rivers that drain from Exmoor.