The price of water is too low to protect our rivers – and has been for years

2 minute read
  • Wildfish
  • Wildfish
  • Wildfish
  • Wildfish
The price of water is simply too low to ensure that our water systems can supply enough to drink, treat our sewage and protect the environment but water companies past failures should not be paid for by the consumer.

Today, Ofwat has delivered its draft determination setting out how water companies will fund and run their business for the next five years. 

WildFish applauds the commitment to fund environmental improvements and to ring-fence infrastructure funding. Maybe at long last, the new government is grasping the fundamental truth: you get the environment you are prepared to pay for.

For far too long, the price of water has been too low and water companies’ investors and bosses have reaped the rewards of failed regulation. Now we all need to pay the price – through increased bills or taxation.

Polluted rivers and water shortages are a grim reality in this country. If the cost of water did not increase substantially, and given where past failures in regulation have left us, there simply wouldn’t be enough money to future-proof our water system so that it can supply enough to drink, treat our sewage and protect the environment.

We should all get used to investing in new reservoirs, water reuse and desalination, to stop our rivers from being bled dry in a drought, and in building infrastructure to protect them from being flooded with sewage. 

But consumer water bills should rise only to pay for the future, not the mismanagement of the past. Fixing the water companies past failures to comply with the law and plan for the future must, as far as possible, be paid for by the industry. The law still needs to be enforced and the companies held to account.

It’s quite simple, the water industry needs to be properly regulated – irrespective of whether it remains privatised.

Nick Measham

Chief executive at WildFish

We have the law, we need to use and enforce it. To reverse the decline of our rivers, lakes and streams we need regulators who are prepared to get tough with water companies – both financially and environmentally. Public trust needs rebuilding. 

One thing is clear, we need ambitious targets to deliver the investment our environment needs. Our rivers and wild fish don’t have time.

Leave a comment

Related articles


EA faces legal challenge if it fails to curb Southern Water’s chalk stream abstraction

WildFish has written to the Environment Agency warning that it could face a legal challenge if it does any deals with Southern ...
Read More

Water companies ordered to publish data on sewage works performance

A recent decision from the Tribunal means that Northumbrian Water (and all the other water companies) can no longer use the Ofw...
Read More

Suffocating in chemicals and sewage: wild fish don’t have a choice.

WildFish is delighted that water-based sports are getting behind the clean water campaign with the introduction of the Clean Wa...
Read More

Support Us

Support like yours allows our determined campaigning team to fight the destruction caused by open-net salmon farming, pollution and over-abstraction

Find out more

Find out about all the ways in which you can help wild fish…