Wales must be paid more than a ‘pittance’ for water say Plaid Cymru as union call for canal to London
Wales must be paid more than a “pittance” for its water, Plaid Cymru have said after an union called for a new canal taking water from the north of Wales to London.
GMB London suggested pumping the water from Lake Vyrnwy in Powys to the south-east of England to help deal with the drought there.
But Plaid Cymru leader in Powys, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, said that Wales was paid very little for its “valuable” water while CEOs at water companies were paid massive salaries.
The GMB London plan would see water pumped from Wales to the Cotswold canals and down the Sapperton Canal Tunnel in Gloucester.
Mark Holland, GMB London Regional Organiser for the water industry, said: “Thames Water should accept the water being offered by United Utilities from Lake Vyrnwy and get it to the Thames via the restoration of the Cotswold canals and Sapperton tunnel.
“This plan was covered in the Thames Water 2019 draft plan for water supply for London in the 21st century but is not included in the current list of things Thames Water plan to do.
“Instead of this very workable plan one of the things Thames Water is planning to rely on is the hope of consumers cutting daily consumption from 145 litres to 125 litres.”
However, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan told the union to “get your house in order before taking more of Welsh water”.
“You pay a pittance for what is already taken, merely 3p a tonne or 1,000 litres,” he said. “Yet water industry bosses are paid a fortune with reports that Thames Water bosses were awarded bonuses of £2.4m in 2020 and 2021 despite the company losing up to a quarter of all its water from leaks.
“Likewise build the long awaited new reservoir at Abingdon, a proposal which has been circulating since 2006 and restart the desalination plant to assist matters.
“The Gateway Water Treatment Works in Beckton, east London takes water from the Thames Estuary, treats it and makes drinking water. It was completed in 2010 to be used during dry weather events.
“It has the capacity to deliver up to 100 million litres of water a day – it has been used during dry spells to boost Thames Water’s reservoirs in London – yet has been switched off during the current hot spell!
“This further highlights the need for water to be seen as a valuable resource, a commodity and Wales is fortunate to have it, however, we cannot allow it to be taken and used by large corporations and fritted away whilst our communities get a pittance from it.
“Imagine the benefits to Powys if we merely got 1p a litre for it – the financial problems of our public services locally would be solved.”
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