The Water White Paper - Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Contents

6  Conclusion

85.  Water, in the words of the White Paper, is "in many ways our most precious resource"[130] and it is clear that the challenges posed by climate change and population growth will require careful management of our water resources over the coming years. In many areas the White Paper sets out the right direction for change, but it is lacking in both ambition and urgency. In particular, the reform of the abstraction regime must be brought forward more quickly if we are to limit the environmental damage caused by over-abstraction: our rivers are already running dry. The White Paper is also disappointingly weak in its approach to metering. As water becomes increasingly scarce it becomes ever more important to encourage consumers to use it wisely: the evidence points to metering as one of the most effective ways to do that.

86.  We welcome the decision to increase competition in the water market, delivering efficiencies which should result in lower bills for customers. We have recommended changes to the proposed reforms which we believe will enhance competition and benefit customers further.

87.  We expect the conclusions and recommendations in this report to be taken fully into account as Government draws up the draft Water Bill. We look forward to the timely publication of the draft Bill for Parliamentary scrutiny.

130   Water for Life, p3 Back

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Prepared 5 July 2012