Public inquiry announced following cold-weather water interruptions

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The water regulator Ofwat is to carry out a review into the performance of water companies following water supply disruptions caused by the recent cold weather and rapid thaw.

The NFU is seeking comments from members affected and will be working closely with the Consumer Council for Water in making representations to Ofwat on behalf of the farming community.

The inquiry will establish the causes of the issues experienced by customers and assess the water companies’ preparations ahead of the well-flagged cold snap including an appraisal of the resources and processes they had in place.

Ofwat will also be pressing water companies to make swift and sufficient compensation payments to affected customers. 

The intervention of the water regulator was signalled last week by environment minister, Dr Therese Coffey, who told Parliament:

“Once the situation is restored to normal, we expect Ofwat to formally review the performance of the companies during this period. That will be a thorough review. The Government will consider any recommendations from the review and act decisively to address any shortcomings exposed.”

The NFU is collecting information from members about their experiences of burst mains and water shortages, and how their water wholesalers and retailers dealt with the emergency.

How to get involved

Members affected should complete and return this questionnaire, and detail as much information as possible relevant to the Ofwat review including:

  • The quality of the support provided your water company, particularly where your circumstances could be described as ‘vulnerable’ (human need, livestock, etc)
  • Deployment of company resources to deal with problems including “distribution of bottled water, speed and effectiveness of repairs, management oversight and governance”
  • Communications with your water wholesaler and retailer.

    Ofwat intends to publish its conclusions to the review by 15 June 2018.


    Last edited on: 13:03:2018

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