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Beach Clean Investment
9:31am 24th May 2013
After Pirate FM told you more Cornish beaches have failed basic clean water checks, the company in charge of our supply has announced a rise in profits.
South-West Water made £152 million last year.
Now the company is launching a £60 million investment programme to boost water quality.
£20 million of funding to improve sewers and treatment works at Looe in Cornwall and Mothecombe, Combe Martin and Teignmouth in Devon is being brought forward, to help local beaches keep their 'Safe to Swim' status under the European Union's Revised Bathing Water Directive from 2015.
There will also be £30 to maintain sewer pipes and £10 to help supports poorer customers and those in debt.
Chief Executive Chris Loughlin said: "Last year saw everything from near drought conditions to the wettest summer and winter for 100 years. Yet, we kept on improving services while hitting our targets on leakage, tap water quality, complaints and reducing costs.
"Now is the right time to go further and share the benefits of our good financial performance with our customers by investing more where it is most needed. Investing now in our network and treatment works protecting bathing water quality will help minimise the risk of these vital beaches losing their status and serious knock-on damage to the region's number one industry - tourism.
"We can't solve every issue on our own affecting bathing water quality such as agricultural run-off and animal fouling but we want to do our utmost to make sure our sewerage network and treatment works operate in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
"That's why we are also spending more now on the nearly six million metres of private sewers we took over last year which increased our total network by more than a third.
"We already have a range of industry-leading customer assistance programme and this year we will be introducing WaterCare, our new social tariff, which will discount bills for around 10,000 customers on the lowest incomes."
South-West Euro MP Graham Watson wants to see more of a balance between profits and spending: "Water quality can be observed as well as measured in many cases and I think people who come down and swim in water that they find is polluted are not likely to come back again.
"The reality is that in the south-west we've been paying far more for our water over recent years because of the cost of doing this. But I look too at the profits that water companies are making and those are not small and perhaps we should have a bit more of a balance."
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