Dŵr Cymru needs to ‘up its game’ on tackling pollution
The Senedd’s Environment Committee has today called on Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and the Welsh Government to accelerate measures to tackle pollution in Wales’ waters.
The Committee believes that Dŵr Cymru should set a more stretching target for reducing pollution incidents by 2030 with an ambitious target of zero pollution incidents as soon as possible.
Today’s report also calls on the Welsh Government to lay out its timetable for banning wet wipes containing plastic as soon as possible – the Committee heard how wet wipes cause the majority of blockages.
“Barely treading water”
Llyr Gruffydd MS, Chair of the Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, said: “Recent performance reports show that Dŵr Cymru is barely treading water when it comes to delivering for its customers and the environment.
“Pollution, leakages, drinking water quality problems and supply interruptions are just some of the issues Dŵr Cymru is struggling with. On top of the constant sewage discharges which we’re all too familiar with, there’s only one conclusion to be drawn, Dŵr Cymru needs to up its game.”
He added: “Extreme weather events and climate change are wreaking havoc on the ageing water and sewage system. With the effects of climate change set to worsen over the coming years, Dŵr Cymru needs to find long-term sustainable solutions that are affordable to customers.
“It’s a challenging task, but it’s one Dŵr Cymru must rise to.
“Dŵr Cymru must work harder and faster to return to its position as an industry leader in environmental performance – something it has already demonstrated it’s capable of being. Unfortunately for the people of Wales, their current performance is not up to scratch.”
The Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee is calling for:
- Dŵr Cymru to explain how it is planning for future climate pressures to mitigate serious pollution incidents
- Dŵr Cymru to commit to setting a more stretching target for reducing pollution incidents by 2030 and commit to an ambition of zero pollution incidents in the shortest time possible
- The Welsh Government to introduce a ban on wet wipes containing plastic as soon as possible
- Ofwat to clarify whether and how its performance-related pay recovery applies to Dŵr Cymru, given its ‘not-for-profit’ status
Today’s report includes a series of recommendations for Dŵr Cymru and its regulators aimed at improving the company’s performance and ensuring better accountability. The Committee expects all parties to respond to the recommendations.
A spokesperson from Dŵr Cymru said: “We welcome the Committee’s report which acknowledges the increasing pressures affecting the water sector and Dŵr Cymru specifically – in particular, the impact of more extreme weather reflecting climate change, and the need for much increased investment whilst ensuring bills remain affordable by customers.
“We have been very disappointed with our recent performance but are well on with implementing the detailed plans we have drawn up to deliver the improvements needed: however, there are no easy or quick fixes. We will not shy away from these challenges and are targeting a return to achieving 3* environmental performance for the 2024 reporting year.
“By the end of this year we hope to have our record £3.5bn business plan for 2025-2030 approved by Ofwat: this doubles investment in environmental performance and makes possible significant improvements across those other areas referred to in the Committee’s report where we are not where we want to be. We are reviewing the detail in the report and will respond in full in due course.”
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