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Welsh Lib Dems call for ‘fundamental review’ of Dwr Cymru

28 Sep 2023 2 minute read
Sewage pipe outfall into the river.

Emily Price

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for a ‘fundamental review’ of Dwr Cymru following the news that UK water companies will pay out millions to customers after many firms failed to meet various targets.

Water regulator Ofwat this week published its annual performance review of water companies, announcing that a net total of £114 million will be returned to paying customers after many firms failed to meet various targets.

The top five who are expected to pay out the most are Thames, Southern, Dwr Cymru, Anglian and Yorkshire Water.

The report found that Dwr Cymru had failed to meet targets on pollution incidents, drinking water quality, leakages, mains repairs and treatment works compliance.

However, the firm had succeeded in its customer satisfaction and was a top performer on preventing sewer flooding.

More than three million people in Wales, Herefordshire and Deeside get their water from Dwr Cymru which is owned by Glas Cymru, a private company that exists solely to finance and manage the firm.

It receives capital investment but has no shareholders, so would keep any financial surplus in the businesses, though in 2023, Dwr Cymru lost £124.7 million with its parent company making £1.5 million.

Water bills

During a debate on the devolution of powers relating to water and sewage licensing in the Senedd on Wednesday (September 27), Jane Dodds MS said: “I firmly believe that it’s time for a fundamental review of Dwr Cymru and how it is delivering for people and our environment.

“Wales has the second highest water bills of anywhere in the UK, and with Dwr Cymru having been downgraded by Natural Resources Wales for persistent water pollution incidents, there needs to be a closer look at what powers the Senedd needs, and what needs to change at Dwr Cymru.

“We should be rightly proud that Dwr Cymru is a not for profit, ensuring that money is invested back into our communities, but it currently falls far short of what we should expect, and need, from our national water company.”


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Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
7 months ago

Yes, It does seem odd that Dwr Cymru manages to perform so badly given that it is not driven by the pressure to provide “shareholder value”. Perhaps there is a big dollopof complacency in the management structure. I did once try to lodge a complain about all the sewage discharges but found that there seems to be no way to contact management. With no AGM for the public to attend I rather feel that the mangement are rather too well shielded and need the fiery breath of an effective regulator blowing around their ankles. Of course the other question we… Read more »

max wallis
max wallis
7 months ago

Could the Senedd force a “fundamental review”? If they can, let it review the cosy relationship whereby the WGovt gives approval in secret, letting Ofwat of the hook in terms of public scrutiny. Second, the English Water Companies have raised capital via the money markets, with Thames Water getting close to bankruptcy. Capital charges are now high like interest rates. What’s the equivalent in Wales – do we escape capital charges but lack necessary investment based on future bills? Third, County Councils are failing to levy housing developers for costs of sewage infrastructure, by WGovt trying to boost house-building. In… Read more »

max wallis
max wallis
7 months ago

Let’s see the review cover the cosy relationship whereby the WGovt gives approval in secret, letting Ofwat of the hook in terms of public scrutiny. This has happened over sewage overflows and discharges far exceeding those exceptions for “exceptional weather”. Second, the English Water Companies have raised capital via the money markets, causing Thames Water to get close to bankruptcy earlier this year. Capital charges are now high as are interest rates. What’s the equivalent in Wales – do we escape capital charges but lack necessary investment based on future income? Third, County Councils are failing to levy housing developers for costs of… Read more »

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