Latest Welsh Water Report Glosses Over Poor Environmental Performance

Welsh Water missed all of its environmental performance commitments for 2022/23

Tuesday 20th June, 2023

Yesterday, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water published their latest annual operational and financial performance reports (financial year to March 2023), along with an assessment by Cardiff University into the water company’s contribution to the Welsh economy.

Their 258-page report outlines the increase in spending on environmental performance, stating that it has “never been higher.” The report claims that that the not-for-profit model has enabled Welsh Water to invest an additional £100 million in improving water quality, which in some other water companies would have been paid out to shareholders as dividends.

Understandably, the water company are keen to focus on this aspect, along with the £1 billion + Cardiff University have found the company contributes to the Welsh economy each year.

Welsh Water missed all of its environmental commitments set by Ofwat in 2022/2023.

However, the report also exposes the company’s less than impressive actual results when it comes to environmental performance.

Of the four environmental commitments set by Ofwat for the AMP7 period, all were missed by Welsh Water. These included the percentage of treatment works complying with discharge permits, the number of pollution incidents, leakage and per capita water consumption.

The report also predicts that two of five “strategic responses” of their environmental improvement were at risk of not being achieved by 2050, including cleaner rivers and beaches. 

Considering how highly the environment ranks among Welsh Water’s “stakeholders,” can the company’s performance really be assessed as positively as this report depicts?

It has to be acknowledged that other areas of the water company’s performance fare better. Of the five community performance commitments, for example, four were met or exceeded. But bearing in mind that its environmental performance of the company appears frequently in the “What matters to our stakeholder groups” section (including Welsh Water’s own staff), many would be forgiven for assessing the last financial year not in the same positive light as the report’s author.

We look forward with some anticipation to Natural Resources Wales’s own annual review of Welsh Water’s performance, usually published in July. 

Posted: June 20, 2023