Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink?

In the Guardian today:

Water companies discharged raw sewage into rivers and coastal waters in England more than 400,000 times last year, Environment Agency (EA) data has revealed. Untreated human effluent poured into rivers and seas for a total of 3.1m hours via storm overflow pipes that are supposed to be used only in extreme weather to relieve pressure in the sewage system.


From January 2020 in response to a channel 4 special:

The disaster of water privatisation in England:

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated
2015 data

According to the Environment Agency reported on the BBC UK website last July:

[In England] there were 56 serious pollution incidents last year [2018], rising from 52 in 2017, the agency’s annual report said. Only one of the nine major water companies in England is performing at the expected level, with most likely to miss 2020 targets, the agency added. The report follows the agency’s announcement that Southern Water is facing prosecution after it was hit with a record £126m penalty package over “shocking” failures in its sewage treatment sites.


Meanwhile in Scotland, according to SEPA:

In 2017, for the first time in a number of years, Scottish Water was not responsible for any category 1, serious pollution incidents.

A report in Open Democracy attributes the situation in England to privatisation:

The dire state of our rivers is just one of the many, many failures of water and sewerage privatisation. It is just one example of what happens when we hand over not just time-limited contracts for delivering water and sewerage services, but the actual assets themselves – the pipes, the infrastructure – to private companies to milk for profit.


The resulting customer satisfaction:

In a ComRes survey of 199 Scots, published last July, we see:

  • Thinking generally about the company that provides your water and sewerage services, do you or do you not trust your water company? UK 86% Scotland 94%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Provide a reliable service? UK 90% Scotland 96%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Ensure good quality of water? UK 90% Scotland 95%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Fix water pipe leaks in public areas (e.g. in roads, not in the home)? UK 81% Scotland 93%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Take action to protect and improve the environment? UK 78% Scotland 87%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Take away wastewater and sewage and deal with it responsibly? UK 88% Scotland 93%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Provide good value for money to customers? UK 72% Scotland 88%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Pay an appropriate amount of tax? UK 78% Scotland 87%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Invest sufficient money on the water network? UK 73% Scotland 86%.

Let me think, who deserves the credit for preventing privatisation?

18 thoughts on “Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink?

  1. In todays Herald Brian Wilson claims “vote Sturgeon get Salmond”.

    The truth? Vote Ross, Sarwar or Rennie and get Boris.
    None of these three would stand up for Scotland, indeed would prefer that London ruled Scotland, and introduced all the privatizations, graft and corruption evident in the Johnson regime.

    Boris (a millionaire) borrowed £3.10 to buy himself a pint from Jennifer Arcuri.
    She gets back—£126,000 in grants and sponsorship.

    But, hey–its all OK in Britland.
    Wink, wink say the media–its only Boris.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Yep, the situation in England re their privatised water is utterly dire. I had read a talk by wee sleekit Gove on the UKGov website, but can’t find it now, all about how fabulous the water being privatised is in England, with a few tweaks needed.

    All I can find are these for now.



    See the bit about ‘droughts’ in the UK!

    Scotland, the first thing a BritNat party at the helm at Holyrood, god forbid and I am not religious, would be to sell off Scottish water and privatise the whole lot. The next thing would be to build that pipeline from Scotland to England, taking your water, leaving you high and dry.

    The Labour party, HQ’d in London, when at the helm at Holyrood for ten whole years, among other things, sold off the non-domestic arm of Scottish Water, and planned to sell off the domestic arn, but thankfully that was er stopped by the SNP. Water is a human right, clean water, and it’s not looking good globally. The ScotGov, SNP need to make absolutely sure that the people of Scotland are totally informed about what privatising our water would mean, and how it is a cert should any BritNat party ever be in charge at Holyrood.

    So, I guess in Scotland right now, hospitals, and buildings like the Scottish parliament must be paying private companies for their water supply. Go to any loo in a supermarket, and you’d be lucky to get a few drops to wash your hands…it’s because they pay by the usage to private companies.

    We cannot allow the English Gov to remove our water, they have taken the booty (oil) to the tune of £trillions, they are not getting Scotland’s water as well, no way.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. All simply explained and under Scottish Law which still remains fully protected
    Under The Act of Union and which can NEVER be amended unless by the express will of the Scottish people excericised through their legally elected
    And under Scots Law
    No one can own water
    When water privatisation was about to be passed in.Westminster, the Bill had to be recalled to amend so that Scotland was excluded and on the grounds that if passed it would be in breach of The Act of Union
    Furthermore as sides notes
    1.That is why in Scotland a water course no matter how small often acts as a boundary between lands of different ownerships
    2.When poaching for e.g. Wild Atlantic Salmon it is only a offence if you use someone’s elses land to gain access in order to cast your net or fly upon the waters that contain the Salmon
    It is not a offence to take the Salmon unless protected under environmental

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Behind the political point you try to make John there is a massive over-simplification, it has as much more to do with history, changing populations and climate change as it does with ‘ownership’ –
    Today’s politicians are myopic beyond election cycles or a 4 year affair with an American at public expense – Politicians of yester year developed public health and water supply strategies spanning decades or even centuries, but vision faded as time passed, greed increased, what was in national interest no longer applied in the classic sense, modern Tories have no concept of it beyond what turns a profit.

    Technically – Much of the UK’s inherited Victorian sewerage system was “combined” (storm+sewage) until the late eighties, this is where the the source of the pollution comes, CSOs – Combined Storm Overflows.
    Add in England’s urban population explosion (far greater than that of Scotland), foul sewerage volumes increase, limiting the volume available to storms and “flat” gradients, changed rainfall rates (1 in 100 year =1 in 20 year?), increased runoff from impermeable areas in a country with extremely flat gradients which promotes flooding, and what do you get ?
    de Pfeffel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The neglect, underinvestment and incredibly bad management is at the crux of the problems in England’s waterways…it has only become worse since they privatised their water. Of course they have more dense and larger population, but private companies put profit before quality when it comes to what should be public services. parts of England are quite hilly, the Lakes, Northumberland, the peak district etc. I mean how does the Netherlands manage? Are they drinking sewage contaminated water I doubt it very much.
      I would say climate change can’t be used as an excuse for the sheer neglect in upgrading the system in England and even just keeping it to an acceptable level where people can be sure they are not drinking sewage contaminated water. Urgh.

      If my memory serves me right, I think Edinburgh’s sewage system was upgraded in the last 15 years or so. I do remember them digging up the roads to replace the pipes, but maybe that was just to replace lead pipes, not sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hetty, the “neglect, underinvestment and incredibly bad management is at the crux of the problems” is correct but predates water privatisation and has long been politically directed… eg –
        In the early days of Scottish Water (Quango) a “business” decision was made that sea outfalls ceased to exist on their GIS because the Asset Management Plan would reflect a future loss if it required replacement. Viz, real objects disappeared because it was financially inconvenient… 🤪
        Yorkshire Water (I think) calculated that the cost of repairing a massive number of leaks was less than the profit lost from the leaked water so didn’t repair and shrugged off the annual droughts… 🤪
        All driven by politics, not an ounce of common sense or foresight available, and it will only get worse….

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Boris wastes £Billions. Hot air. Congestion flooding London S/E. The population is going down as people try to escape the rat race. Run by rats. Sewers overflowing into the rivers and seas. Pollution dumped. Nukes dumped on Scotland illegally, without permission, (£Billions) by Westminster sewers rats. Rats in a sack. S/E water is recycled full of chemicals. Disgusting effluence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aye, they managed to sell off Scotland’s non domestic water supply though not the domestic part, so for eg, hospitals will be paying through the nose to private companies for er, water.


  6. False stories saying Scotland will be flooded by 2030. Scotland will rise above it. Not be affected by it. Elsewhere in the south. Flooding everywhere. The nukes had better be gone by then. Hickley Point, HS2 line will be flooded. A total waste of time and monies which could be better spent. Tidal schemes in Cardiff and the Humber. Considered to be expensive but a fraction of the cost.


    1. England is said to be at serious risk of running out of water by 2025 (?) or so, Scotland will not run out of water and will not significantly flood because the land is being lifted by tectonics in fact. There will however be more coastal flooding no doubt, due to climate change and changing weather patterns, and if people would stop paving over their gardens it would also help to ensure excess water via rain doesn’t collect where it shouldn’t!

      Also more diversity environmentally is essential, eg, grouse shooting on huge scale is wrecking Scotland’s eco system in some areas, that has to be put right asap. I think that the murder of the beautiful mountain hares is now banned in Scotland.
      Some large areas of Scotland are naturally and essentially very wet, like the Flow Country in Caithness, needs full protection though which will only ever happen when Scotland is not at the mercy of EngGov to ‘approve’ applications for World Heritage Status. It’s a ten metre deep carbon sink…shhh.


  7. There is a water tax on the council tax bill. For the upkeep of the pipeline? Or to subsidise water supply. People with cesspit or underground supply do not pay it. Not sure about the farmers. Businesses pay business rates. In the middle east water comes from desalinisation. Same as ships/vessels in the oceans.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is truly shocking, given much of England is already experiencing dire supply shortages of water. But apparently ‘there is no alternative’ to deregulation and privatisation of the ‘nation’s’ natural monopolies and strategic infrastructure. So it’s just as well Scotland has plenty of water, and that we’re Better Together, allegedly.


    “This response assesses the soundness of the underlying assumption of both the Cave and Ofwat reviews, that economic regulation “can only be second best” to competition, in light of empirical evidence from water supply and sewerage and other industries, not only in England and Wales but also internationally.

    There cannot be an a priori assumption that unbundling or competition will lead to efficiency gains, improvements in service quality, or innovation. The experience in the UK and the EU with sectors such as electricity and rail, as well as the international evidence from the water sector, suggests otherwise.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. They replaced the utility pipes in Edinburgh when they did the Trams, it was a monumental mess for a while. Visitors were taking videos of the shambles. Put off some visitors. Others were most surprised.

    People can get the bus from Edinburgh Airport using bus passes but could not use them on the trams. It kind of defeated the purpose at the time. Buses could be quicker.

    Glasgow has one of the best airport bus services in the world. It is so quick even in busy traffic. Bus lanes. The Trams are cheaper. Subsidised? After all the cost. Edinburgh Transport is subsidised by public monies. The wealthiest City in Scotland with subsidies transport. Other places have higher prices and service cuts. A non existent service in parts of the countryside. The bus passes help people travel at off peak times. Pensioners can go on a bus trip. It cheers them up,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.