Powers over water resources should to be devolved to the National Assembly of Wales, the Welsh people, not shareholders, should be able to profit from the sale of Wales’ natural resources. The ‘not-for-profit’ social enterprise model instituted in Wales by Glas Cymru must not be weakened or undermined by any changes to regulations in the Con Dem’s new Water Bill which needs to face serious scrutiny before the Westminster Parliament and the National Assembly.
Water is a valuable asset in Wales and while many of the regulatory powers relating to Water in our country are in the hands of the Welsh Government. The water clauses in the Government of Wales Act 2006 actually prevent the National Assembly from taking financial advantage of our natural resources to benefit the people of Wales.
The Con Dem’s Water Bill (full text) is decidedly ideologically driven and aims to introduce more market competition into the water industry. They appear to have turned a blind eye to the fact that the largest water supplier in Wales is Glas Cymru, which is a not-for-profit company – something that could be used as a successful social enterprise and a business model elsewhere.
The last thing that we need to do is to turn the clock back in Wales by moving from a not-for-profit system which puts customers first to one in which boosting the shareholders’ dividends and profits are the main motive. Yet due to the Labour in Wales Welsh Government's inertia no one knows their plans as they have not held a consultation on the water industry or confirmed their plans on creating a single environmental body in Wales.
Meanwhile the draft Water Bill will continue to makes progress and no doubt the outcomes of private discussions between the Welsh and UK Governments will no doubt eventually emerge. To ensure full transparency there is a need for detailed well publicised debates in the Assembly about what the Welsh Government plans for the water industry in Wales.
Plaid has consistently called for the devolution of powers over water resources so that our country can tap the potential of our natural resources. We need these powers devolved so that we launch ambitious projects to generate green energy and secure the future of a sustainable economy.