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Water firms slash spending plans as the recession bites

Water companies have cut their final spending projections for the 2010-2015 asset management plan (AMP) 5 period by 12% after cutting demand projections as a result of the recession.

The 21 water companies have cut their budgets from £27bn to a proposed £24bn but the overall spend will still be up 20% on the £20bn they spent during the last five year regulatory period.

Final plans were submitted to water regulator Ofwat just before Easter and the regulator will make a final determination on the prices companies charge and what they can spend in November.

The largest chunk of spending will be in the hands of the 10 water and sewerage plcs whose plans account for £22.47bn of the proposed £24bn spend.

Thames Water has made the biggest cut, with projected spending down by £1bn from £6.5bn in its draft plan to £5.5bn in its final version. This is largely a result of the decision to defer a new Upper Thames reservoir near Abingdon to the AMP6 period. The project has been delayed because the recession has meant that demand for water will be lower than expected (NCE 12 March).

Thames will be funding work on the Tideway tunnel in the next AMP period. Other companies will be spending on making assets flood and drought resilient.   

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