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Poor performance now ‘the norm’ for some water firms, warns Ofwat

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Serious pollution by water companies has increased in the past year, the regulator has said in a damning report on the performance of the sector in England and Wales.

Ofwat said poor performance by some firms was embedded, and named Northumbrian Water, Southern Water, South West Water, Thames Water, Welsh Water and Yorkshire Water as lagging in the way they served customers and ran the system.

The regulator also analysed the financial resilience of the water firms, after a year in which three companies have been forced to inject capital to bolster their financial strength. Ofwat is taking a tough stance with water companies after criticism that for years the firms have not been properly regulated.

The body said most companies had failed to clearly explain the link between the dividends paid to shareholders and performance for customers. They said there had been improvements on leakage by water companies but more needed to be done to reduce leaks by 50% by 2050 from 2017-8 levels.

The Guardian revealed last week that the nine main water and sewerage companies had paid out £65.9bn in…

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