Plaid Cymru has called for Welsh Government to block a project that could see 180 million litres of water being pumped out of Wales a day.
The calls are in response to an announcement from OFWAT which confirms that proposals to extract water from the Lake Vyrnwy reservoir to supply the Thames Water company will proceed to the next stage of its development.
Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price MS, has said its “crystal clear” that decisions about Welsh water should be made in Wales, that Welsh Government must demand a fair price for Wales’ natural resources, and that the people of Wales need a guarantee that Wales’ own water resilience won’t be harmed through proposals such as this.
The 180 million litres per day that forms part of the new project is in addition to the 243 billion litres of water that are already transferred from Wales to various regions of England on a yearly basis.
Unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales does not currently have full control over its water resources, allowing private companies based outside of Wales to extract water from our rivers and reservoirs at a minimal price.
Meanwhile, as private water companies benefit from the enormous profits, Welsh customers continue to endure some of the highest water bills in the UK.
As the impact of climate change intensifies and drought events become more frequent, it is likely that this will be a growing trend for the foreseeable future.
Adam Price MS, Leader of Plaid Cymru said:
“Decisions about Wales’ water must be made in Wales, for the benefit of the people of Wales. Today’s announcement underlines the importance of this: With no indication that we’re getting a fair price, and no guarantee that our own water resilience won’t be harmed, this deal does not hold water.
“This week the First Minister assured me that Welsh Ministers have an effective veto on such matters under the current intergovernmental protocol. In light of today’s development, the Welsh Government should announce its intention to block this project until the benefits to Wales from an economic and environmental perspective can be conclusively shown.
“Wales’ water should be in Welsh hands. At the very least we should receive a fair price for the export of our water, with the profits being used to invest in our communities, not to line the pockets of private companies that aren’t even based in this country. Anything less will mean that Wales will continue to be short-changed for the use of its own natural resources.”