Water Services Training Group 13th Annual Conference 10th September 2009 Meeting the Challenges of the Changed Economic Environment Annual Conference September 2009 Addressing the Strategic Challenges facing the water sector Ivan Grimes Principal Officer, Water Policy DoEHLG Meeting the Challenges of the Changed Economic Environment Annual Conference September 2009 Overview of Challenges Financial Sustainable use of water Compliance Issues Monitoring and sampling Structural Issues Addressing the challenges – how? Meeting the Challenges of the Changed Economic Environment Annual Conference September 2009 Financial and Funding Issues Economic downturn Significant impact on Exchequer Pressure on LGF and WSIP Significant impact on LA direct income Development contributions, commercial rates and other revenue sources Restrictions on LA borrowing (capital and overdrafts) Financial and Funding Issues Need to improve collection rates? Addressing non-payment of water charges? Identify more cost-effective ways of providing capacity? Less ambitious plans for future development? Recognise that these may be sensitive Water Conservation Leakage levels in some areas are unacceptably high Priority needs to be given to Water Conservation Programmes Economic/financial returns are proven Commission on Taxation High Level Group on Green Enterprise Compliance Issues Critical ECJ cases – Dangerous Substances, Drinking Water, Shellfish Other ECJ cases – Urban Waste Water Treatment, Groundwater, Septic Tanks Influencing future investment choices Avoiding imposition of financial penalties a key priority Compliance Issues Regulatory compliance Drinking Water Regulations 2007 Urban Waste Water Treatment Regulations 2001 & 2004 Bathing Water Quality Regulations Set standards – quality and performance Specify monitoring requirements Supervisory role for the EPA Monitoring and Sampling EPA’s UWWD report for 2006 & 2007 found c20% of waste water plants failed to take an adequate number of samples in 2007 a significant increase in compliance would be achieved if monitoring frequencies met the minimum set in the Regs Monitoring and Sampling • EPA report on Drinking Water for 2007 & 2008 recommends a survey to identify all private supplies that supply water as part of public/commercial activities Structural Issues Recent recommendations for reforms; • A National Water Authority? • Domestic Water Charges? • Cut the Local Government Fund? • LA’s self financing? • Rationalise the number of authorities? • Share/outsource services? Structural Issues Strategic Planning Licensing of the Group Sector Metering of non-domestic connections River Basin Management Plans • • • • Water Framework Directive aims to achieve good status for water bodies by 2015 WFD does allow States to seek longer time-scales for implementation 1st RBMP’s are due to be adopted by 22 December 2009 Draft Plans have been subject to a public consultation process River Basin Management Plans Department has reviewed the draft Plans Concerns about the scale of the ambition and the potential costs Concerns also at local level about securing political acceptance for Plans Department working with the CCMA to address concerns EPA to review final plans before submission to the Minister Addressing these challenges Training of water services personnel Positive engagement between all the key stakeholders Commitment of senior managers Political decisions on structural issues Future funding arrangements Thank you for your attention!