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Water companies to consider funding flood schemes

Water companies could provide increasing amounts of private funding for surface water flood alleviation projects from 2015 onwards, Anglian Water flood risk manager Briony Tuthill said yesterday.

Tuthill told the ICE East of England flood risk management conference that water companies are likely to choose to fund sustainable drainage systems (Suds) projects as a means of complying with their statutory duty to reduce back-ups from their sewers. Companies will have to consider this option soon when they begin preparing their business plans for the 2015-2020 asset management plan (AMP) period, Tuthill said.

She said there are issues around ensuring value for money for water customers who indirectly pay for these projects but do not directly benefit from them, but said contributing to Suds schemes was a more sustainable way of tackling sewer flooding than building greater sewer capacity. Ofwat has already asked water companies to undertake 50 Suds pilot projects between them, in an attempt to build confidence and understanding of how to implement and operate such schemes.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) this year changed the way it funds flood alleviation projects through the Environment Agency. Where previously the Environment Agency would wholly fund all of its schemes, it will now offer partial funding to some schemes and ask local communities to find private funding to make up the shortfall. The new regime is known as Partnership Funding, or Payment-for-Outcomes.

Water companies’ duties

Water companies are obliged to keep a confidential register of properties at risk of sewer flooding in their region, called the DG5.

The companies have a statutory duty to ensure that a certain number of properties are removed from the DG5 in each AMP.

Anglian Water has said it aims to have no properties at risk of sewer flooding by 2020.

Readers' comments (1)

  • "She said there are issues around ensuring value for money for water customers who indirectly pay for these projects but do not directly benefit from them"
    - not if we explain properly that this avoids more expensive investment in large capital schemes that may not be achieveable in the long-term and do not avoid the actual issue but provide an interim solution

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