Richard North, 21/12/2012  

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You do really wonder what Loopy Lou does for brains, but even for her, this article breaks new ground. We, the customers, who are exposed to the under-investment, inefficiency and corporate greed of the water companies, are supposed to be grateful that, because of the unusually high rainfall, our water will not be restricted while we are still being charged for it.

But what really takes the biscuit is the Environment Agency which tells us of Thames Water, that it has enough stockpiled water to get through two "dry" winters.

But, says the EA spokesman, customers still need to be careful about their use of water. "In theory", he says, "we are never more than 18 months of very dry weather away from a drought. The topsy-turvy British weather is, above all, unpredictable".

This, of course, is the agency that was earlier this year warning us that the drought could last until Christmas. Crucially, though, it neglects to tell us that the area serviced by Thames Water has had a near-15 percent population increase since water privatisation yet there has been no additional reservoir capacity built for over 20 years.

Personally, I am getting more than a little sick of the preaching from the water industry and its apologists – the former comprising local monopolies who seem to think that it is perfectly acceptable to charge us more and more for less and less, while allowing increasing amounts to be lost through leakage.

The inefficiency, corporate greed and the waste is barely tolerable, but the preaching is just too much. With a Water Bill in the making, we need to see consumer choice, to allow us to ditch the preachers and look for better value. And if, through that means, the preaching does not stop, at least we can pick the company which is least sanctimonious.

Unfortunately, that does not apply to the Environment Agency, but then we have long since ceased to expect any sense from government agencies. Rather than preach at us, the Agency should be asking why the water companies are failing to deliver. Then, such agencies are there to be ignored. They have no credibility and are long past their sell-by dates. And if this one can't shut up, it should be abolished. 

Come to think of it, it should be abolished anyway.


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