Headlines: April 7th, 2008

A local government think-tank says that the government and water companies are waking up to some hard truths about water supply and treatment. The Local Government Information Unit says councils and local people still have no control over water management in their areas.

The LgiU said a new report from the all party parliamentary water group, led by former Agriculture Minister, Elliot Morley had bluntly described the scale of the challenge. Water was becoming more expensive, there was massive waste in the system. Infrastructure was not in a state to cope with flooding and at the same time some parts of the country could expect to face severe droughts.

The think-tank said the solutions suggested in the report concentrated on universal metering of water combined with a system of social tariffs. Dr Andy Johnston head of the LGiU’s Centre for Local Sustainability said the report was, at last, some recognition of the connection between the management of essential natural resources like water and social justice.

He added, “This report identifies specific roles for local government in flood management, protection of critical infrastructure and support for communities. Local communities can influence where developers build and the ‘greenness’ of the buildings through the planning system but still have little say about water management in their area.”