Water, water everywhere

As December was the wettest in Scotland on record, we can probably do without more reminders of flood risks. However, SEPA have obliged with the publication of detailed maps to highlight the places where homes and businesses are most vulnerable to rising water levels and tidal surges.

The maps can be searched by postcode and they are very clear and easy to use. They do beg the question as to why some houses were built in high-risk areas.

James Curran, chief executive of SEPA, said: “It is clear that there has never been a greater need for this information, as we have seen, yet again over the last month, the misery that flooding has brought to communities across the country. As many people will be all too aware, flooding is a real threat and it can have devastating effects on lives and properties. In Scotland, for many years now, we’ve been aware of the expected increase in flooding caused by climate change and by having more information on the types of flooding and its impacts we can make more informed decisions and target our resources in the areas where we can make a real difference.”

On water supply, Waterwise has argued that A ‘Blue Deal’, involving large-scale water efficiency retrofits would reduce the carbon impact of households, as well as reducing both water and energy bills, They told Utility Week, “Water companies could put up prices and at the same time bring bills down by helping people with water efficiency. A shower head, some tap inserts, that’s the cost of the kit. Compared to the Green Deal, it is really, really small beer. Water retrofits would do as much for energy as the Green Deal and it would hit hard to reach homes.”

While the Green Deal costs thousands of pounds per household, Waterwise claims the water equivalent would cost just £50.

Meanwhile, an English water industry group has been criticising the Scottish approach to commercial water developments. This actually misses the key point about marketisation – why bother?  The Herald story refers to ‘industry sources’ claims that, “the Scottish system cost £22 million to set up but has saved businesses about £65m.”

What this dubious figure refers to is savings through water efficiency, the sort of advice Waterwise promotes. It has little to do with competition.

The Herald also reminds us that the claimed savings, “has not been enough to tempt the Welsh to follow the English into liberalisation. The Welsh Government and many of its opponents were sceptical about the estimated savings and costs of such a move. They were concerned residential users would end up having to pay more to cover the cuts to wholesale business charges that would make it worth the while of private players entering the market.”

Very wise, it’s been a complete waste of money in Scotland.

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