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Welsh Water

Welsh Water plea to practice water-efficient habits this winter as consumption rates rise

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person pouring water on clear drinking glass

Households in Wales are using on average 25% more water than last year, and customers could see their water bills increase as a result.

Consumption data for 2020 has revealed water usage across Wales has increased by 25% throughout the year. Welsh Water, which is the only not-for-profit water company in England and Wales, is encouraging the public to adopt water-efficient habits while still washing their hands regularly and following public health guidance.

The increased water usage in the area can be attributed to many factors besides changing habits as a result of the pandemic. As well as increased time spent working from home and home-schooling, the fine weather throughout the Spring and Summer saw lots of people spending increased time in activities like gardening and enjoying paddling pools and hot tubs. In April, Amazon reported a 4,000% increase in paddling pool sales while eBay reported sales of hot tubs had increased by 1,000%.

In a bid to support customers and help keep bills as low as possible, the company is urging the public to take steps to conserve water in other ways, like wrapping pipes for winter to avoid bursts, fixing leaks, and making small daily changes like turning off the tap while brushing teeth or flushing the loo one less time a day.

Sam James, Managing Director of Household Customer Services at Welsh Water said: “Taking steps to be more water efficient can have a real impact on the amount of water a home uses; and can bring down the cost of your water bill. Small changes to your behaviour; like not leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth or spending one less minute in the shower really do add up over time. And even while the weather is colder there are lots of opportunities to practice water efficient habits at home.

“Water pipes are particularly prone to freezing and bursting in cold weather, leading to a lot of water being wasted. This is easily preventable by wrapping the pipes ready for the cold. 

The company is also encouraging people to sign up to its online service MyAccount, where Welsh Water customers can view their upcoming payments online and keep track of their bills. 

Sam James added: “It’s been an incredibly difficult year for all of us and we know many people are facing a tough time financially. If anyone is struggling with their water charges, we strongly encourage them to get in touch with us.  We have schemes and social tariffs available to help make bills more affordable.”

“Importantly we want people to know that these water-saving steps really do work. Changing your habits can really help conserve water and save money on a water bill, and committing to these longer term can really help keep bills as low as possible.”

Welsh Water have online support for bills and water efficiency tips on their website: dwrcymru.com.

(Lead image: cottonbro / Pexels.com)


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Welsh Liberal Democrats

Call for ban on water company bosses’ bonuses until sewage discharge ends

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Liberal Democrat Senedd Member for Mid and West Wales, Jane Dodds has called for a ban on Welsh Water bosses’ bonus payments after it was revealed that they were awarded £931,000 in bonuses while pumping raw sewage into Welsh waterways 100,000 times last year.

Ms Dodds is calling for a “sewage bonus ban” to ban future bonuses until sewage dumps stop.

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The bosses of Severn Trent, which covers parts of mid and north Wales also awarded themselves bonuses of £5.56 million.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats say that their analysis of Company House data shows that executives at Dŵr Cymru were paid £2.6 million in 2020 and 2021 including £931,000 in bonuses, benefits and incentives.

The eye-watering executive pay packets and company profits were made despite the 100,000 sewage dumping events taking place in 2020 and 2021 alone.

The Lib Dems are calling on the Labour-run Welsh Government to ban new bonuses for Dŵr Cymru executives until sewage offences are brought to an end. The party is also calling on Dŵr Cymru and Severn Trent bosses to hand back last year’s bonuses and for the funds to be used to clean up rivers and lakes that have been polluted by sewage.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Senedd Member Jane Dodds said Water companies are being allowed “to pump raw sewage into our precious rivers and lakes while awarding themselves obscene bonuses.”

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Ms Dodds said: “I’ve watched first-hand as my local river, the River Wye struggles to survive. It has been given just two years until it is declared biologically dead. We cannot put off action any longer.

“Welsh Liberal Democrat plans for a sewage bonus ban would stop water company execs being paid a penny in bonuses more until our waterways are protected from sewage dumps. These bosses should be made to hand back the millions of pounds already received in bonuses to help clean up their mess.

“It’s time to send a message to the Welsh Labour Government that they cannot let water company bosses get away with pumping raw sewage into our rivers and beaches any longer. Every vote for the Welsh Liberal Democrats in May is a vote for a strong local champion who will stand up for their local community, clean rivers and countryside.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Welsh Water

Welsh Water makes its way to Ukraine

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Welsh Water say they are providing 55,200 litres of bottled water to war-torn Ukraine.

The not-for-profit water company say that in the World Health Organisation declared “humanitarian crisis” in Ukraine, many citizens are living without access to food, drinking water and essential supplies.

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Welsh Water is sending 55,200 litres of bottled water to the country.

Access to water and sanitation are recognised by the United Nations as human rights, reflecting the fundamental nature of these basics in every person’s life, yet as the conflict continues to worsen, more detail is emerging about the crisis with reports of citizens melting snow to drink.

There have been requests from the Ukrainian government for donations of bottled water for drinking and personal hygiene purposes.

Pete Perry, Chief Executive of Welsh Water said: “The fact that so many people are without drinking water in Ukraine reflects the desperation of the situation.

“As a company, we will build on the support we already provide vulnerable people across the world, through our nominated charity WaterAid, by working with other water companies to provide some essential drinking water supplies to people in Ukraine.”

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(Lead image: Welsh Water)

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Coronavirus

Testing for COVID in wastewater to expand Wales-wide

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A programme to test wastewater for COVID-19 has been expanded to cover all Welsh health boards and local authorities across 48 sites.

The Welsh Government, who are leading on the programme, said it provides vital data on the prevalence of coronavirus in the community and was key to the early detection of the Omicron wave across Wales.

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The process of identifying coronavirus in wastewater was initially developed by scientists from Bangor University who have been working in partnership with the Welsh Government, Cardiff University, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and Hafren Dyfrdwy. The initial concept and processes are now used in work being undertaken across the UK.

All 48 sites in Wales now have automated monitoring equipment installed to provide wastewater samples which scientists can test to give insights into the virus.

Health and Social Services Minister Eluned Morgan said: “The wastewater data has helped us to understand how the pandemic has changed and allowed us to follow the Omicron wave though our communities.

“With the help of the scientists and water companies in Wales, we have increased the monitoring sites from 19 to 48 and introduced automatic sampling equipment providing even more detailed insights into wastewater testing compared with the methods we originally adopted.”

Chief Scientific Adviser for Health Rob Orford said: “Wastewater monitoring has the potential to be representative of the true levels of COVID-19 in our communities, as it is less affected by changes to community testing policy and whether or not people get tested.

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“We are keen to continue to explore how wastewater can play an important part of our future testing strategy as we begin to move from pandemic to endemic.

“Wastewater also has some exciting potential beyond COVID-19 and could be used to monitor the levels of many other viruses like influenza and anti-microbial resistance.”

Professor David Jones from Bangor University’s School of Natural Sciences, who co-leads the development of the testing technology, said: “COVID-19 has been a huge learning curve for virology, and our wastewater testing has been able to identify new variants of the virus in almost real-time, so we welcome its expansion across Wales.

“We know that the faster the data can be produced, the better informed public health officials can be in making important decisions about the measures needed.”

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