The results of recent research by water consumer group CCW have been published
Water consumer group CCW have today released the findings from their recent research into customers’ views on water quality in Welsh and English rivers. The research has followed increasing concerns about river water quality, and the frequency with which storm overflows are used by water companies.
One of CCW’s ambitions is to improve the public availability of information about environmental issues and ensure that decision-makers take into account customers’ views.
This research provides insight into customers’ awareness, perceptions and priorities on river water quality. In brief, it found that:
- 35% of people in England and Wales now see untreated sewage as the biggest cause of river pollution.
- Despite this, people mainly have positive rather than negative associations with rivers and streams.
- In principle, 58% would pay more on their water bill to support investment to reduce the need to use storm overflows, subject to the detail and cost.
- The majority of customers (65%) want planned improvements to ensure that rivers are a healthy habitat for wildlife.
Interestingly, CCW found that there were some differences in the results between England and Wales:
- People in Wales are more likely to visit local rivers, streams and coastlines than people in England.
- For a number of activities, people in Wales are happier with the safety of rivers and streams than people in England.
- There is higher awareness of farm waste amongst people in Wales when asked about the greatest cause of river pollution in the UK, however when asked more specifically about the rivers / streams they’re most familiar with, those in Wales are more likely to say it’s full of life at least some of the time compared to those in England.
- People in Wales are more likely to be aware that water companies are investing to reduce river pollution.
- Welsh customers are more likely to want investments to prioritise ensuring that rivers are healthy habitats for wildlife.
CCW will use these findings to influence and inform the key decisions that the industry and Government take on the future of storm overflows.
They state that the research also demonstrates the need for water companies to proactively inform customers about their environmental performance and the steps they are taking to improve their sewer networks and treatment plants.