GMB CALLS ON THAMES WATER TO BE BOLDER IN ITS PLANS TO SOURCE WATER FOR GROWING POPULATION IN LONDON AND THE SOUTH EAST OF ENGLAND
It is essential that there is never a repeat of the near miss of the 2012 drought so a belt and braces approach is the right one to rule out the £330m daily costs of failure of inadequate water supply says GMB
GMB, the union for workers in the water industry, commented on the plans published by Thames Water for consultation on how it will source enough water for the growing population of London and the South East of England into the rest of this century through to 2100. (See notes to editors for copy of the consultation document).
Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said:
"There is much in this document that GMB can appreciate and evaluate as the basis for planning for the future.
“First is the assessment, even after Brexit, that the population will grow by 2 million people by 2045 and by 6 million by 2100, with 70% of this in London.
"Second, the aim to get consumption per person down from 145 litres per day down to 125 litres per day.
"Third, the aspiration to cut by 15% the 700 million litres of leakages every day.
“What is clear however is that whatever way you cut it,additional water sources will be needed to meet ongoing demand and to avoid the near miss of running out of water in a drought as per 2012.
“Thames Water plans to reuse waste water from sewerage works above the weir at Teddington and from the Beckton sewerage works.
"This, they estimate, will yield 550 million litres per day. GMB will now study these proposals.
“More contentious is the revived plans for a new Thames reservoir at Abingdon covering an area the size of the footprint of Heathrow Airport.
"This is forcast to supply 300 million litres per day after it is filled each winter. An earlier version of this plan was rejected by the Planning system in 2010 and this latest draft is likely still to face opposition.
“There are also proposals to move water from the Midlands via the Oxford canal.
“The plan acknowledges that any serious interuption in water supply to the region would cost a staggering £330 million every day. As London and the South East are the engine room of the UK economy, this is not something that can be put at risk.
"GMB is calling on politicians and the public to urge Thames Water to be bolder and to move up the priority list a plan first developed by the Victorians to move water from the west of the UK via the Severn and the Cotswold canals and Sapperton tunnel into the Thames. This is covered in the plan but is not included in the current list of things Thames Water plan to do.
“GMB urges everyone to push for this common sense and financially viable solution. Water is not something that is scare in the UK, in fact quite the contrary: we use less than 2% of the water that falls each year and which flows into the sea.
“This is a win win proposal. Thames Water should accept the water being offered by United Utilities from Lake Vymwy and get it to the Thames via the restoration of the Cotswold canals and Sapperton tunnel.
"This has the capacity to supply 300 million litres per day and as a bonus, the canals are restored for leisure and recreational use.
“It is essential that there is never a repeat of the near miss of the 2012 drought so a belt and braces approach is the right one to rule out the £330m daily costs of failure of inadequate water supply."
Contact: Justin Bowden on 07710 631351, Stuart Fegan on 07912 890434 or GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at email@example.com
Notes to Editors
 Thames Water Draft Water Resources Management Plan 2019