The Uk Water Scandal
The UK Water companies have suddenly and miraculously recognised that their complete lack of investment in infrastructure over the decades has been rumbled. So, predictably they have come up with a completely preposterous statement suggesting that they plan to put consumers above profits; how very convenient that they trumpet this intention 2 days before the biggest planned demonstration over the state of our waterways in decades. How insulting, do they really believe the British public are so gullible as to be be conned in this way? The sad fact is they probably do!
No modernisation in the last three to four decades has left seventy five percent of our rivers polluted, and to a totally disgusting degree. One and three quarters of a million hours of discharge into our rivers in the last twelve months has left our waterways as little more than sewerage channels,and that’s before we even contemplate what this is doing to our beaches. When I think about those that still choose to wild swim, my stomach churns, what are the pollution levels in which they are immersing their bodies, I dread to think. The joys of wild swimming are not lost on me, I grew up in the Highlands of Scotland, spoiled for choice on which beautiful swimming hole we could visit and while away the hours in relative safety. In those days, the majority of our beaches were pristine, and you certainly didn’t swim around in what can sometimes best be described as “mulch”, with raw sewerage being discharged metres away.
You would imagine that our water companies would hang their heads in shame, but you could not be further from the truth. Remember, of course, that they are planning a multi £m investment, to observe much greater control over illegal discharges , and increase their focus on delivering against their statutory duties. This sounds like progress, but the reality is very different. They choose their language very carefully, any investment in infrastructure will be paid for by price hikes on us, the consumer. That isn’t investment as you and I would expect it, the companies won’t draw upon their obscene profit margins to fund it, they plan to pass it directly on to us to pay for through our bills.
The profiteering behaviour of companies in the Utilities sector is out of control and the Government needs to take action now. They have the legal ability to challenge and change the impact these heartless, socially disengaged businesses have on our planet. In the case of Water companies, we are used to their constant broken promises, total lack of meaningful profit funded investment, and for some reason, unbeknown to me, we don’t seem to strongly object to their indiscriminate poisoning of our rivers and beaches. There is a wider and ever increasing noise about the environmental danger to our planet, and people are happy to glue themselves to roads, climb to the top of bridges, and cause havoc during snooker matches, but what does any of that achieve? I’m sure I can hear a chorus of “nothing” echo in the background.
With a properly focused series of non-violent demonstrations, led by people that genuinely want to see change that can have an impact, and quickly, so much could be achieved. Force through regulation that can and will be fully enforced, stopping the discharge of effluent into our waters, stop the water companies from passing the cost of infrastructure upgrades to us by driving them to properly invest, funded from their profits. Mandate a period by which leakage must be brought under control, setting tough but achievable targets. These things would have a positive impact on our planet, cleaning up our waterways, protecting and increasing fish stocks, and preventing the outrageous levels of spillage of one of our most precious resources, water. As I often say, “don’t try to boil the ocean”, let’s start with the things that can be relatively easily achieved, and the water situation is a perfect example.
By the time Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil and the like have been freed from the road surface, or the side of a train, positive change can already have been delivered, and without the disruptive, mindless, and illegal activities of such socially damaging groups.