Water is essential for life but like so many other essentials we need it in a controlled fashion. Too much causes floods and too little droughts. Key to our supply of water are the water companies, yet these companies have continually failed us both in terms of developing the infrastructure that we have been paying for and continually dumping sewage into our rivers. Meanwhile the government sits idly by instead of looking after the interests of its citizens.
There are two water companies operating in our area. Southern Water and Thames Water. Despite repeated failures to meet their targets, their executives have been well rewarded. The total remuneration package since 2020 for top Thames Water executives has been £8,553,000 whilst the figures for Southern are £4,618,400. This year while Southern Water finally cut bonuses as it was caught criminally dumping on an industrial scale waste, Thames Water splurged £2,450,000 on the top three executives. This is despite failing to meet targets let alone legal requirements.
The Liberal Democrats have called for a ban on all CEO bonuses as well as the companies to be reformed as “public service companies”. The reforms would put an end to profit before the environment and ensure their boards include environmental experts. Until then, our local rivers are being pumped full of raw sewage, whilst the water executives hand themselves pay-outs reaching eye-watering levels, with Conservative Ministers refusing to act.
I was shocked that there was literally no mention of sewage in the King’s Speech. When dealing with a monopoly, we cannot afford to put profit before the environment. The water companies are clearly not working or listening to local concerns on sewage discharges. Furthermore, they have been charging us for improvements to the water infrastructure which they have not carried out.
This country’s water industry has become a gravy train where sewage and money flows freely. This is a scandal happening on this government’s watch. Bonuses should be a reward for success, not committing environmental crimes.
Cllr. Luigi Gregori