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UK Water Reforms: Keynote Address at Water NZ Conference

UK Water Reforms: Keynote Address at Water NZ Conference

The positive effects of water infrastructure reform are being discussed by Mark Enzer of Mott MacDonald in his keynote speech on global water issues at the Water New Zealand conference at Claudelands, Hamilton, this morning.

“In the UK, there have been reforms over many years. Back in the 1940s, there were over 1000 different bodies involved in the supply of water, but these were gradually consolidated, leading to the formation of 10 river basin-based water authorities in the 70s. This integrated approach to water management has undoubtedly been a good thing both for customers and for the environment. But the need for reform never really ends and it continues in the UK to this day.” Mark Enzer says.

“I am certainly not here to promote any particular ownership model, but I would advocate a rational approach to managing the water economy that covers not only operation and maintenance costs, but also ongoing investment in improvements. Tariff is a thorny issue all over the world, but the ideal has to be that the price of water reflects the real cost of water. That is what happens in the UK.”

“Rain falls freely from the sky, but none of us want to drink from puddles, so something clever has to happen between the sky and the tap - and that has a real cost, which someone has to pay. Someone always pays, whether it is the consumer or the taxpayer. ” he said.

“In the UK, there has been a strong shift of focus towards improving outcomes for the customer (as opposed to just building and managing assets). This is great for the customer, but it will also be very good for the water industry as it effectively realigns to be a service industry.”

When asked about metering, he said that “when you measure something, you can manage it. As a customer, I prefer having a meter – when I know how much I use and I get charged for what I use, everything is clear and out in the open. It’s not like that if the bill is hidden somewhere in the rates.”


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