Welsh Water: £2bn to fund water and sewerage improvements

  • 5 June 2013
  • From the section Wales
Media captionThe Welsh Water network serves three million people and needs upgrading

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water has outlined plans to spend £2bn improving water pipes, upgrading sewers and reducing flooding.

Customers are being consulted in a series of events to set the final priorities to be sent to the regulator.

The not-for-profit company said it had to strike "the right balance" in meeting customer needs and protecting the environment.

But the firm said it aimed to keep customer bills "affordable".

Welsh Water is asking the three million people it serves in Wales, Herefordshire and Deeside for their views on on eight "ambitious" projects it hopes to carry out between 2015 and 2021.

The investment plans include:

  • Replacing 400km of water mains in the Herefordshire, Cardiff and Newport areas to reduce risk of discoloured water to over 550,000 customers.
  • Improving its water treatment works to ensure even better water quality for customers with major investments at works serving Llandudno and Colwyn Bay, and the Rhondda valleys.
  • Building a new pipeline between south east and south west Wales to provide more secure supplies for customers and to protect areas that could be vulnerable to water shortages during exceptionally dry periods.
  • Increasing the amount of renewable energy generated by the company to 100 gigawatt-hours (GWh) - this will be the equivalent of enough energy to power a town the size of Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan and so reducing its need to buy electricity.
  • Investing in a new green energy facility in Wrexham which will turn 'sludge' [the by-product from the sewerage treatment process] into electricity and reduce the firm's carbon emissions and energy costs.
  • Reducing the high risk of flooding at over 200 properties.
  • Roll-out the RainScape programme to reduce the risk of flooding from overloaded sewers.

Chris Jones, Welsh Water's executive finance director, said forward planning is vital for the company.

"We face many challenges, including adapting our business to climate change, meeting tighter environmental standards, maintaining our infrastructure and ensuring that we're able to meet the needs of businesses and a growing population for decades to come," he said.

"Although we can't do everything and have to make difficult decisions, our focus is on striking the right balance.

"We want to invest to maintain and further improve our services for our domestic and business customers, and protect the environment, but we must also keep our bills affordable and help our more disadvantaged customers."

The proposals will be launched at an event in the Senedd on Wednesday with Economy Minister Edwina Hart.

"It is essential that our water and sewerage services are managed sustainably in order to secure the best possible social, economic and environmental outcomes for the citizens of Wales both for the present and into the future," she said.

Welsh Secretary David Jones said the £2bn investment signified a "major commitment" by Welsh Water to customers but also in contributing to wider economic development "through the major infrastructure investment that is proposed".

The company will tour Wales and Herefordshire throughout the summer with a series of community events including town hall meetings, stakeholder workshops and town centre roadshows.

Customers will also have the opportunity to view the plans and have their say through the company's website.

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