How our water industry went down the drain


Downpours may have brought an end to one of the driest summers in Britain for half a century.

But even as the country is warned of ‘dangerous’ flash floods, millions more households face hosepipe bans.

The crisis has thrust our biggest water companies into the spotlight – and raised some alarming questions.

Here we examine how the industry has become a byword for greed and failure.

Monopolies: There are 32 privately-owned water companies in England and Wales with a mix of ownership models

Monopolies: There are 32 privately-owned water companies in England and Wales with a mix of ownership models 

What happened at privatisation?

The sector was privatised under Mrs Thatcher’s government in 1989 when ten taxpayer-owned regional water authorities in England and Wales were transferred from state to private ownership.

It was meant to usher in a new era of efficiency and investment with…



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