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Coackley to chair water spending reform group

Water drop

Water: Reforms are needed to smooth spending cycle

Immediate past ICE president Richard Coackley, is to chair a steering group tasked with implementing the recommendations of a report on the damaging impacts
of the five year regulatory cycle on water spending.

The Smoothing InvestmentCycles in the Water Sector report, published in July, was produced by Infrastructure UK with water regulator Ofwat and the water industry.

It made a series of recommendations to improve certainty, productivity and value for money in the water sector.

At issue is the fact that water spending rises sharply at the beginning of each regulatory period before falling rapidly towards the end.

The news that Coackley is to chair the report’s implementation group was announced by Infrastructure UK last week. It came at a conference organised by British Water and Water UK, bringing together senior government and industry figures to discuss the challenges and opportunities which would result from smoothing investment cycles in the sector.

Coackley said this was an “opportunity to be embraced.”

“Cyclicality leads to higher costs for the delivery of infrastructure managed by regulated utilities - costs which are ultimately paid for by consumers - so the opportunity to smooth out investment cycles and resolve these long standing issues is one that should be embraced,” he said.

“The report published in the summer, setting out key recommendations was welcome and timely and it is now time for the government, Ofwat and the water
industry to work together on the implementation and to ensure those benefits are realised.”

The Treasury welcomed Coackley’s agreement to chair the group.

“As the government’s report set out, taking action now to address investment in the water sector could save the industry £600M every five years, reduce household
bills and prevent up to 40,000 job losses in the water industry supply chain,” said a Treasury spokesman.

“This is another example of how the government is working in partnership with industry and regulators to boost the economy and promote growth. “We look forward to working with them.”

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