AN in-depth study into customer attitudes towards the water industry has been shared by Talis UK. It suggests an urgent need for greater public engagement and education about some of the major decisions being taken in their name.
Researchers asked a representative sample of households across the UK a range of questions relating to issues affecting water supply and management. The issues of which most are aware stop at their front doors – except perhaps when floods hit the headlines. For this reason, the public see the debate over the future of the water sector as being mainly about prices and billing rather than the other major challenges facing the country. Currently, people feel that water bills represent value for money, but many fear that change in the sector will result in higher bills (71%) confusing tariffs (65%) or worsening service (60%). However, there is much less concern about the introduction of mandatory water meters, although opinions are split about their potential positive impact on bills or water usage.
The report also highlights that the public know little of the wider services included in the cost of their water supply. While 85% understand that water companies control water supplies and waste, just 57% are aware of the wider social and environmental benefits of water companies, such as monitoring and reporting on pollution and helping to mitigate flood risks and preserving open water areas.