Investing in and paying for your water services from 2021: consultation

This engagement paper seeks your views on investing and paying for water services from 2021.

Annex C: Statement of Proposals

Statement Of Proposals – Investing in Water and Wastewater Services 2021-27

Investment Areas

1. Standards of service

Ministers expect that current levels of service, expressed in terms of the overall quality of services and customer experience, shall be maintained over the long term. They expect Scottish Water to engage with stakeholders and customers to establish appropriate standards of service for the 2021-27 regulatory period, and beyond, and to report annually on performance against these standards. They also request that performance assessment criteria are reviewed to ensure that these remain fit for purpose and adequately reflect Ministerial priorities, quality of services and customer views.

2. Asset Maintenance

Ministers recognise that maintaining high levels of performance are dependent on adequate maintenance, and when appropriate, replacement of existing assets. They request that Scottish Water develops an evidence-based strategy that will inform the long term capital maintenance needs of the industry. The strategy should also set out the programme being undertaken to understand the condition of assets in particular those of a critical nature for maintaining service delivery. This strategy must command the confidence of Scottish Water’s regulators and ensure that asset maintenance is fully integrated with other areas of the investment programme.

3. Supporting Sustainable Economic Growth

To support the Scottish Government’s purpose to increase levels of sustainable economic growth, Ministers confirm that Scottish Water should continue to invest in water, sewerage and drainage infrastructure to provide capacity to enable development.

Ministers recognise that, in a number of locations in Scotland, the levels of headroom available to accommodate new demand is not sufficient to support future forecast demand for capacity. They ask Scottish Water to work with stakeholders to influence strategic development in areas where there is already capacity and to consider all possible measures to release capacity in existing assets before requiring enhancement of water and wastewater infrastructure.

Ministers recognise that a small percentage of Scotland’s population currently relies on private water and sewerage arrangements. In line with their commitment to delivering the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, Ministers expect that Scottish Water will work with the Scottish Government to support the Government’s objective of ensuring reliable and sustainable rural water and waste water services.

Ministers wish Scottish Water to consider opportunities highlighted in Scotland’s strategy “Making things last” and to apply the principles of a circular economy to water and wastewater services, in particular exploring the potential for resource recovery from sludge.

4. Drinking Water

Ministers expect Scottish Water to maintain compliance with drinking water quality standards and, in the interests of public health, ensure that plans are in place to address failures, including the risk of failures, of standards. They also request that the plans already developed to address the resilience of supplies be updated and that progress be made to secure further improvements.

In the light of expert advice from the World Health Organisation that lead should be removed from drinking water supplies, Ministers request that Scottish Water develops investment plans to remove contact of potable water with lead pipes in its network. They also request that Scottish Water works with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders in respect of lead pipes within customer properties so that everyone can access a lead-free water supply.

5. Environment

Ministers expect Scottish Water to maintain compliance with its current environmental licences and to continue to develop investment plans that address risks of impacts on the environment from its assets.

Ministers have set out, their objectives for Scotland’s water environment in their River Basin Management Plan , in particular, how public bodies, businesses and land managers will work together to protect and improve the environmental quality of Scotland’s rivers, lochs and seas over the period to 2027. They request that Scottish Water, as a key player in the delivery of these objectives, sets out how improvements to water and sewerage infrastructure in the period 2021-27 will contribute to these objectives through annual updates to its Delivery Plan.

Ministers commend Scottish Water’s efforts to develop drainage and wastewater management plans so as to gain a better understanding of the performance of sewer networks and to plan for improvements. They expect these to be further developed with a view to limiting the amount of plastics reaching the water environment through these routes.

Ministers recognise that pollution of the water and marine environment arises, not only from assets but also from product design and customer behaviour. They request that Scottish Water supports SEPA in working with the manufacturing sector, the Government, customers and stakeholders to control, at source, macro and micro plastics and priority substances.

6. Flooding/Surface Water Management

Scotland needs to focus on surface water management to address customer flooding, water quality issues, climate change and growth. Ministers commend the partnership working between Scottish Water and Local Authorities to develop a greater understanding of the performance of drainage and sewerage networks. Ministers request that Scottish Water works with Local Authorities and other stakeholders to develop delivery and monitoring arrangements to secure improvements to storm water management, including those for which joint delivery solutions will be required.

7. Security & Resilience

Ministers request that strategies and plans are developed to ensure that the resilience and security of networks and supplies are maintained and improved, in line with advice from Government security advisers and industry best practice. Such strategies and plans should cover the resilience of services in adverse conditions and the security of IT systems.

8. Climate Change, Adaptation and Mitigation

Scotland is already feeling the impacts of climate change. Ministers request that Scottish Water ensures that it understands the impacts of climate change on its assets and implements its plans for adaptation measures necessary to protect services.

In keeping with Scotland’s strategy of transition to a low carbon economy, they request that Scottish Water continues with climate change mitigation by investing in renewable energy where it is economic to do so and to develop strategies for delivering low carbon water and wastewater services.

9. Private Finance Initiative funded Projects

Ministers recognise that 3 of the 9 PFI contracts mature in the period 2021-27. They request Scottish Water develops plans to manage these contracts to secure the best value for money for the future operation of these facilities. Plans should be prepared for contracts that end in the period following 2027.


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