Blackpool set to manage own water supply

Blackpool Council is set to become the first local authority to manage its own water supply following its application to Ofwat for a water and sewerage licence.

If approved, it is estimated that the move will achieve cost savings of up to £194,000 over three years, with savings of £50,000 expected in the first year alone. The 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.

As part of its application, the council has entered into a partnership agreement with self-supply specialists, Waterscan, who will undertake retail functions, help deliver cost savings and efficiencies direct with the wholesaler, provide effective water consumption management and ensure compliance with relevant regulatory codes.

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.”