achieved through tough enforcement action resulting in a major
investment programme, totalling£5.7bn over the last 10 years,
said environment minister Michael Meacher today, as a new report on
water quality was published today.
The Drinking Water Inspectorate's (DWI) eleventh annual report shows
the best results achieved to date in improved drinking water quality.
99.83% of the 2.7 million drinking water samples, taken in 2000, met
the stringent quality standards.
Enforcement action taken by DWI has required water companies to
implement major improvement programmes at water treatment works and
in the distribution systems. This year the number of samples failing
to meet the drinking water standards was approximately 4,500. This
compares to 50,000 breaches in standards in 1992.
Mr Meacher said:
'This major investment in our water industry is paying off and we are
delivering real benefits to consumers. We expect this trend to
continue, as improvement programmes are completed.
'Tough enforcement action by DWI has required water companies to
implement major improvement programmes. I welcome this significant
investment, which has safeguarded public health and led to a decrease
in the number of breaches of standards Consumers can be confident
that they are receiving drinking water of increasingly high quality.
'The government is firmly committed to further improvements in the
water industry. This will bring benefits to both consumers and the
environment. Our plans for the future of the water industry will
bring customers the prospect of more choice, keener prices and better
services. We will consult in the autumn on setting out a framework
for increasing competition.'
1. The Drinking Water Inspectorate was set up on 2 January 1990. Its
main task is to check that water companies in England and Wales
supply wholesome water and comply with the requirements of the Water
2. The chief inspector reports annually to the secretary of state for
environment, food and rural affairs and to the first secretary of the
national assembly of Wales.
3. Drinking Water 2000 - A report by the Chief Inspector, Drinking
Water Inspectorate is available from HMSO, Price£36 ISBN.
4. 'How Good is the Drinking Water?' is available free of charge from
the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Publications
Despatch Centre, PO Box 236, Wetherby, West Yorkshire.
5. DWI Report on (Each) Individual Water Company' is available free
of charge from The Drinking Water Inspectorate, Zone 2/A1, Ashdown
House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DE.