CCW statement: Storm overflows

A spokesperson for CCW said: “Customers expect water companies to be good custodians of the environment; inappropriate use of storm overflows is unacceptable and people justifiably want action. Water companies need to address the harm caused by these overflows, and that must be part of a wider package of investment to end the misery caused by sewer flooding too.

Given the significant potential impact on water bills, it’s imperative that customers have a meaningful say on these important investment decisions and we protect those customers who are already struggling to pay. Our recent affordability review laid bare the fact that 1.5 million customers are already living in water poverty, with millions more households only just about managing to afford current bill levels.

Storm overflows remain an important last resort to protect homes and communities during extreme weather but their use beyond that should never be tolerated. CCW is committed to ending sewer flooding – in our homes and in our rivers – and thinks a sector-wide debate on achieving improvements should be a priority.

One of the ways we are doing this is by joining forces with a number of other organisations, including the Government, the Environment Agency, Ofwat, Blueprint for Water and Water UK – as part of the Defra led Storm Overflows Taskforce, which has been set up to eliminate the harm caused by these overflows.

We have made a number of recommendations to ensure water companies commit to increasing transparency around when and how storm overflows are used. This could help water companies and regulators prioritise where action is needed to reduce the environmental harm that can be caused by sewage spills. We now want to see companies sharing more of this information with consumers.

Information regarding water quality on beaches and in other bathing areas in England can be found via the GOV UK website.

CCW through our End Sewer Flooding Misery campaign are working alongside water and wastewater companies to improve protection and raise the bar for customer service.