Webinar 37: Water Privatisation in England & Wales

Webinar 37: Water Privatisation in England & Wales

Webinar 37:  Water Privatisation in England &  Wales
6 December 2023
Presented by  Dr David Lloyd Owen, MD Envisager

About the Webinar

In this webinar, we take a long view at England and Wales’s water privatisation. In 1973, the disparate municipal water and sewerage concerns were reorganised into ten Water Authorities, on a river basin basis. Funding cuts from 1976 hampered the development of their assets, which became increasingly problematic as compliance with European environmental and public health directives loomed. In 1984, privatisation was first actively considered, and this took place in 1989. Over the past 34 years, much progress has been made in updating and expanding assets. Yet much is not right. In recent years, there has been increased concern about river and beach pollution and discharges during dry periods. What is causing this? Some of this stems from regulation, investor attitudes and changes in ownership, yet many other crucial aspects are poorly appreciated. 

Before we can resolve these shortfalls, their causes need to be understood. The 2025-30 Asset Management Period is going to be the most crucial one the sector has faced. What do we need to do and how can we do this affordably, efficiently and effectively in order to regain the public’s trust? We are now belatedly acquiring the tools and capabilities required, can we deliver them?

About the Speaker
Dr David Lloyd Owen is Managing Director of Envisager, a strategic consultancy based in West Wales advising governments, multilateral institutions, financiers and companies on water and wastewater market, policy, regulatory, environmental and management drivers. Projects have ranged from the potential for capital efficiency opportunities with the World Bank, to project dispute arbitration and exploring various aspects of sludge handling and management. David started following the water sector as an equity analyst in 1989, originally at BNP Paribas and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Pictet Water Fund, the world’s first and leading water equity fund.  Since 1996, he has worked as an independent consultant.  He dabbles in databases, in particular one monitoring the status of all known private sector operating contracts worldwide and another that explores the global cost for attaining universal access to safe and sustainable access to water and sanitation along with the potential scope for innovation and efficiency in mitigating these costs.

David has written ten books on water finance, technology, markets and management.  These include “Global Water Funding: Innovation and Efficiency as Enablers for Safe, Secure and Affordable Supplies” (Springer Nature, 2020) and “Smart Water Technologies and Techniques: Data Capture and Analysis for Sustainable Water Management” (Wiley, 2018) along with 14 editions of the Pinsent Masons Water Yearbook and InDepth, for Arup. He is a columnist for Global Water Intelligence and contributes to GWI’s “What’s next for UK water?” series about the sector’s current and forthcoming challenges and how these can be addressed. He has a doctorate in applied ecology from Oxford University, a degree in environmental biology from Liverpool University and is a Chartered Environmentalist (MCIEEM, CEnv) and Chartered Geographer (FRGS, CGeog) and is a Court Assistant of the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators, where he is oversees the Company’s responses to consultations.