BLAENAU Gwent MP Nick Smith has challenged the Government and water regulators over failures to make sufficient progress in reducing water consumption and preventing leakages.

The National Audit Office (NAO) recently published a report which explained that the UK’s water supply is forecasted to drop significantly over the next 20 years because of climate change – warning that some parts of the UK could run out of water altogether.

The report also explains that 20% of the 14bn litre daily water demand in Wales and England is currently being lost to leakage.

During a Public Accounts Committee meeting on Monday (June 3) Mr Smith questioned representatives from Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and water regulator Ofwat over these issues.

During the meeting Mr Smith said that he was concerned that Ofwat wasn’t “that bothered about dealing with leakages.”

Mr Smith asked Ofwat Chief Executive Rachel Fletcher why she thought the industry had “failed in the last few years to make sufficient progress.”

He added: “What’s gone wrong up until now?”

Rachel Fletcher replied that she believes “there wasn’t enough attention” on the issue prior to 2016 and although progress has been slow “the direction of travel, now, is absolutely clear.”

Mr Smith has asked for Ofwat data on how different water companies are performing in acting to cut leakages.

Mr Smith said: “It seems that over the last few years there has been very little progress in reducing water consumption or stopping leaks. I will be interested to see which companies are doing their bit and which are falling short.

“There are lots of innovative ways to deal with this problem, but water companies have to start using them.

“There is also no evidence that water companies are successfully getting the message across about the need for people to reduce water consumption.

“The Government must take the lead on this and promote a clear message to consumers.

“Urgent action is needed to drastically cut water leakage and reduce water consumption in order to avoid some very serious issues in the near future.”

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