Blackpool Council moves towards water self supply, a public sector first

Blackpool Council is set to become the first local authority to take the innovative step towards managing its own water supply following its application to Ofwat for a water and sewerage licence.

If granted, this licence will enable Blackpool Council to buy water supply and wastewater services directly from United Utilities for its buildings and associated premises, but it will manage its own retail services for over 120 sites across the borough.

It is estimated that the move will achieve cost savings of up to £194,000 over three years. In the first year alone, anticipated savings are in the region of £50,000, with the potential for further savings through additional cost and consumption efficiency projects.

Cllr Fred Jackson, Cabinet Member Responsible for the Environment, said: “This is an exciting initiative and we are looking forward to the opportunities that a self-supply licence offers us in managing our water usage responsibly, efficiently and cost-effectively.

“We are the first public sector organisation to apply for this licence. There are many benefits such as reducing administration costs and cutting out the margin that goes to others in the supply chain. We will pay the price that retailers pay to the water company which will deliver significant savings.

“The licence also gives us a voice as it offers certain rights such as voting rights which can help influence the future development of the water market and the water strategy of the wholesaler.”

To facilitate the application, Blackpool Council has entered into a partnership agreement with self-supply specialists, Waterscan. Waterscan will take on retail functions, help deliver cost savings and efficiencies direct with the wholesaler, provide effective water consumption management and ensure compliance with relevant regulatory codes.

The company’s Managing Director, Neil Pendle, said: “We congratulate Blackpool Council on being the first public sector organisation to take a proactive approach to optimising efficiency in the open water market through its application to self-supply. We look forward to working closely with the council team to achieve its goals and to signal to other public sector bodies how they too could reduce their water footprint and costs.”

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