Thursday, 21 June 2012


It's the Summer Solstice and a cool but dry morning. At times I count my blessings and this morning I was grateful not to be a participant in the overnight sit-in at Stonehenge. I understand it was a damp affair and my thoughts turned to the problems the water industry has with the clear liquid that falls from above.

Have you ever heard of an organisation called British Water?  I hadn't - well not until I was reading about their jamboree in the House of Lords.

Now don't be thinking your local darts club or swimming club can apply to hold an event within the hallowed halls of the Lords, because it's not allowed. Only charities are permitted to use events in the Palace of Westminster for fundraising.  Other organisations are not supposed to benefit financially, even indirectly.

From the British Water website:

British Water lobbies governments and regulators on behalf of its members and provides vital information on home and overseas water and wastewater markets - how much is being spent, by whom, where, when, how and on what.
As well as actively promoting best practice, British Water represents the interests of the UK water and wastewater industry on UK and European regulations and legislation, terms and conditions of contract and procurement practice, and in the creation of European and International Standards.

So it's a lobbying organisation posing as a [fake] charity which has access to influential politicians.

I was interested to know if Scottish Water was a member of British Water and although I didn't find an answer to my question, I found SW is a member of UK Water Industry Research.  Also discovered, courtesy of Google, was another fake water charity which operates out of plush looking offices in Buckinghamshire.  It doesn't list its members, but UK Water does and Scottish Water is a member.

Is it any wonder the water industry is expensive and inefficient when it has three (maybe more) organisations acting as taxpayer-funded researchers and lobbyists?


Oldrightie said...

"and in the creation of European and International Standards."

As ever this quango has a distinct EU flavour about it. They covet our oil, fish and rainfall. It is not ours but "theirs".

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Ah! The hidden costs, manipulations and dividends of privatisation - for anybody with an hour or so to spare I recommend a viewing of 'Catastroika' as an expose of the facts behind privatisation and its ability to socialise costs while increasing the privateers profit.

subrosa said...

The other fake charities I found will also have that ethos OR.

subrosa said...

What concerns me Crinkly is that Scottish Water is in public ownership yet it doesn't publicise which organisations it subscribes to or the costs.

Edward Spalton said...

The transformation of charities into what the government now calls "The Third Sector" is one of the most sinister developments of recent years.

Of course, there always were some dodgy charities with dodgy people running them but now there are myriads of real fakes which are either simply government pressure groups or recipients of government/EU largesse. The deal in the latter case appears to be "You tell people what we want them to hear and we will give you lots of other people's money".

So it is not surprising that "the privateers" should get in on the racket.
Water is a natural monopoly which ought to be easily regulated under public control. Of course, in Britain, it became a bit of a rip off between complacent management and strong unions.
However, the cure for that was worse than the complaint.

Nature imitates art. Years ago the Daily Telegraph had a very good satirical column called "Way of the World". I am sure that one of its fantasies was a pretentious promotional organisation called "Operation Water", complete with its own pushy press officer and a psychiatric adviser amongst other luminaries.

Brian said...


Scottish Water Horizons, a stand-alone company to which Scottish Water staff are seconded (mmm???) is a member of British Water.
According to the Scottish Water Horizons homepage:

"Scottish Water has thousands of assets - treatment works, reservoirs and tens of thousands of miles of water and waste water pipes. Horizons is capturing the commercial opportunities these assets provide Scottish Water to help Scotland’s economy and environment thrive and improve.

From generating renewable energy from wind, waste and water to facilitating the installation of high-speed broadband within our sewer networks, Horizons is all about improving connections, communications and enabling sustainable development."

I think that means that it can charge customers for things that Scottish Water can't.

JRB said...

Uisge – not the same without the beatha.

… and reading all about these questionable companies/ quangos/ charities/ lobby groups/ call them what you will, – I think I need a wee glass of uisge beatha


Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Very true JRB.

I rarely drink water - fish make love in it.

Woman on a Raft said...

Thanks for the link.

Following the FWR link, down in the members section, Scottish Water is listed as a member as of 13 Octover 2011.

I've no idea what benefit Scottish Water, let alone a customer, is supposed to get from that.

subrosa said...

It appears many of the same faces are on the boards of these fake charities Edward. They seem to do the rounds and that is sinister.

Trying to keep an eye on how utilities rip their customers off is a full-time job.

subrosa said...

I assume that means Scottish Water has some association with British Water as well as the others I found Brian. Lots of customers' money being shovelled into these organisations so as they can have chocolate biscuits at their board meetings.

How many organisations does water need? Do these people work together? Lots of questions and few answers.

subrosa said...

Indeed it's not the same JRB.

Oh Crinkly, I drink water/ Must phone Scottish Water to check their filter processes. :)

subrosa said...

I agree WoaR. What benefit they get from purchasing membership to all these fake charities beats me.

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