Select Committee on Environmental Audit Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary note from Ofwat on the joint Ofwat/DWI project reviewing water quality indicators of serviceability for customers

  Since the last periodic review of prices Ofwat and the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) have been working together to review the water quality serviceability indicators used to inform regulatory decisions on asset performance and the future capital maintenance needs of the water companies. We saw a need to work together first to develop a series of plausible options. This would then provide the basis for a focussed consultation with the industry and interested parties.

  In November 2000, consultants WS Atkins were appointed to assist in the development of a set of robust serviceability indicators for water treatment, supply and distribution to measure water company performance in maintaining serviceability of water supply assets. These will be used to inform decisions on asset maintenance requirements. The initial phase was a scoping exercise. Phase 2 of the review has as its objectives:

    —  To improve understanding of links between drinking water quality and the operation and maintenance of treatment and distribution system assets in maintaining serviceability to customers.

    —  To review critically current methods of measuring serviceability of water supply assets.

    —  To investigate the options available for improvements to current indicators of serviceability for water supply assets.

  This work is nearing completion. We have received an encouraging draft report from WS Atkins, which we are considering. We expect to receive WS Atkins' final report on the assignment in April 2001.

  We shall be publishing the Phase 2 report in due course, with a view to consulting the industry on the work done to date. The next steps with this initiative will need the help and co-operation of the water companies.

  We shall forward a copy of the Phase 2 report to the Committee when it is published.

March 2001

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