Monday, August 15, 2022

Water Crisis

Eight of the 14 areas of England are now classified as being in drought, with hosepipe bans being implemented across increasing areas of the country.

The Environment Agency recently called for water company bosses to be jailed for serious pollution, after finding the water firms’ performance on pollution had declined to the worst seen in years.

 The bosses of England’s water companies have been criticised for banking £58m in pay and benefits over the last five years. Since privatisation, shareholders have been paid £72bn in dividends. The cash came from big debts, with companies borrowing £56bn, and big bills, with prices rising 40%.

Stuart Singleton-White, head of campaigns at the Angling Trust, said: “The profits being made by water companies, who are in effect private monopolies, the dividend payments to shareholders, the inflated salaries and bonuses to the CEOs, and the debts that have been run up by these companies, mostly to support dividends and inflated salaries, rather than finance investment, is a clear sign this is a broken market.”

He pointed out that no new reservoirs have been built in England since water companies were privatised, and that years of underinvestment had led to “unacceptable levels of leaks”. Water companies currently leak around a quarter of their supply through old pipes, with 2,954m litres a day seeping away last year.

“When the crisis hit, our water system was not ready”, Singleton-White said, blaming “the greed of the water companies, the weakness of the regulators and the complacency of the government”.

Former Conservative environment minister Rebecca Pow said, “These salaries are unacceptable if they can’t with a clear conscience provide clean, plentiful and sustainable water."

Thames Water

Area: Greater London, parts of Kent, Essex and Gloucestershire

Chief executive: Sarah Bentley
Pay: £2m
Tenure: September 2020-present

Bentley landed £2m in pay and bonuses last year. She held senior roles at the telecoms giant BT, the consultancy Accenture and Severn Trent Waterbefore joining Thames Water with a £3.1m “golden hello”, including two £727,000 one-off payments. Last year, the firm was fined £4m for discharging raw sewage in two Oxford streams.

Anglian Water

Area: East of England including Norfolk and Cambridgeshire
Chief executive: Peter Simpson
Pay: £1.3m
Tenure: 2013-present

Last month he had landed a £337,651 bonus despite the company notching up one of the worst pollution records in the industry.

Severn Trent

Area: Stretches from the Bristol Channel to the Humber, and from mid-Wales to the east Midlands
Chief executive: Liv Garfield
Pay: £3.9m
Tenure: 2014-present

 The firm was fined £1.5m for dumping sewage in Worcestershire last year.


Area: South-west England
Chief executive: Susan Davy
Pay: £1.6m
Tenure: 2020-present

 South West Water has faced criticism over pollution levels affecting the Cornwall and Devon beaches.

Wessex Water

Area: Parts of south-west England including Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire
Chief executive: Colin Skellet
Pay: £975,000 last year
Tenure: 1988-present

Wessex Water has issued a warning about “non-essential” water use and he has a 40ft swimming pool at his home in a village outside Bath, thought to be worth more than £3m. Wessex Water paid out £975,000 over raw sewage spills in Dorset in 2018.

United Utilities

Area: North-west England
Chief executive: Steve Mogford
Pay: £3.2m
Tenure: 2011-present

Northumbrian Water

Area: North-east England, Essex, Suffolk
Chief executive: Heidi Mottram
Pay: £648,000
Tenure: 2010-present

Southern Water

Area: Hampshire, West Sussex, Isle of Wight, parts of Kent
Chief executive: Lawrence Gosden
Pay: Undisclosed
Tenure: 1 July-present

Last year Southern was fined a record £90m for deliberately pouring sewage into the sea.

Yorkshire Water

Area: Yorkshire, north Lincolnshire, Derbyshire
Chief executive: Nicola Shaw
Pay: Undisclosed
Tenure: 9 May-present

The former National Grid UK executive director, who was also boss of High Speed 1, is likely to receive similar pay to her predecessor, who received £1.4m.

Scottish Water

Area: Scotland
Chief executive: Douglas Millican
Pay: £558,000
Tenure: 2013-present

Scottish Water is a publicly owned entity

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

Area: Wales
Chief executive: Peter Perry
Pay: £675,000
Tenure: 2020-present

The company has 3 million customers and is run on a not-for-profit basis. 

Northern Ireland Water

Area: Northern Ireland
Chief executive: Sara Venning
Pay: £210,000-£215,000
Tenure: 2014-present

Northern Ireland Water has never been privatised

Calls to cut bonuses for UK water bosses until reservoirs built and leaks fixed | Water | The Guardian

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