Fringe Box



Letter: Can Our Water Services Cope?

Published on: 20 Dec, 2023
Updated on: 20 Dec, 2023

From: Ben Paton

In response to: Thames Water Representatives Face Angry Residents Who Suffered Loss of Water Supply

Thames Water’s participation in and contribution to the sites identified in the disastrous Tory Local Plan is crucial.

For example:

  • the Slyfield Weyside Garden Village proposal requires Thames Water to build a new water treatment plant and to dismantle the existing plant (and flood defences?);
  • the proposed Wisley New Town on Three Farms Meadows requires a new fresh water supply, a new sewer and new sewage capacity at sewage works along the River Wey (into which Thames Water regularly illegally discharges sewage).

All these works require Thames Water (and Guildford Borough Council) to spend many millions or tens of millions of pounds.

We know that Thames Water’s capital structure is to say the least ‘challenged’ – because Macquarie and other shareholders extracted all the available equity from its balance sheet before they sold it. Thames Water requires massive infusions of fresh equity to remain solvent.

Thames Water, SCC and GBC do not publicly examine these essential matters. Thames Water does not comment on the feasibility of the Local Plan and the proposed new towns. They all appear believe “it will be all right on night”. They proceed as if there were no constraints on the available natural resources.

But will it be alright? As the Shalford Water Treatment Works debacle and the illegal dumping of sewage show, Thames Water struggles to provide sustainable fresh and waste water services to existing homes. How will it serve the further 12,000 dwellings projected in the Local Plan? These require an increase in capacity of over 20 per cent. Where will Thames Water get the fresh water? How will it process the sewage?

Southern Water has put a moratorium on new house building in parts of West Sussex – to protect ground water sources for fresh water. Has Thames Water produced a reasoned and evidenced analysis for how it will deliver a sustainable supply of fressh water in Guildford Borough – and sustainably process the sewage? Will any future generations ever be able to swim in the River Wey free of sewage?

Given the very serious questions over the finances of Guildford Borough Council and Thames Water these matters should be transparently disclosed. Will either be in any position to fund massive investment in new fresh water supplies and new sewage works?

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Responses to Letter: Can Our Water Services Cope?

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    December 20, 2023 at 5:01 pm

    The answer to questions posed by Mr Paton can be found in council held documents. And those submitted by myself.

    Slyfield Sewage Treatment Works is currently 12 per cent short of the required treatment capacity and it will be 2027 before the new plant is available.

    As for drinking water, the South East is currently 7 per cent shortage and the rainfall in our region does not and will not meet projected future demand.

    Money will not solve that problem. Water transfer from other regions has significant ecological concerns. Company names and directors names are irrelevant.

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