In a new paper, Time to pull the plug on the water privatisation model, Professor Sir Dieter Helm says the current water model needs an overhaul: “The sheer scale of public anger is a once-in-a-30-year opportunity to put it right, reform properly and create a new model that lasts,” he said.

He calls for:

  • A clear and unambiguous statement of objectives from Government.
  • Actions by water companies to secure a social licence to operate, including “reasonable salaries and rewards; no financial engineering; simple corporate structures; transparent third-party reporting; and executive accountability of failures”.
  • Integrated catchment plans to achieve the objectives at least cost via competitive cross-sector bidding for delivery work, overseen by a catchment planner.
  • A recasting of regulatory institutions to deliver the objectives on a catchment basis.

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