Two letters and the article Shortages will force water firms to work together (NCE last week) highlight the looming water supply crisis in the south east this summer.
There are seven companies in different ownerships responsible for water supplies across the south east. This leads to a fragmented water supply infrastructure, which has meant less efficient planning; less efficient day to day operational management; and less efficient capital investment. There is continuing talk of a national grid, but it is not currently possible to feed water from one end of Sussex to the other, let alone more widely in the south east or beyond. As a result water supply is less secure, particularly through loss of flexibility when weather patterns are erratic.
It is inconceivable that supplies can be allowed to fail in the south east on a regular basis. Stronger co-ordinated development and management of water resources is required.
Consolidation of the companies under common ownership is a long term solution, which the regulators and government should promote and support.
Keith Tozzi, CEO, Concateno plc, Bucklersbury House, 3 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4N 8EL