A further rise in the price of water in the UK has taken the cost to more than 20% above the levels of five years ago, according to the 1998 National Utility Services (NUS) International Water Price Survey.

The 15-country survey of business supplies, which was published on 19 September 1998, revealed that in the 12 months to July 1998, the cost of water increased again—this year by 6.26%. It also highlights the fact that increases during the last five years have always outpaced inflation.

Of those surveyed, Britain is the sixth most expensive country for water, reporting that UK consumers are now paying over 20% more than they did in 1994.

With water industry leaders continuing to resist the introduction of competition, and out-dated pricing structures doing little to reflect the cost of supply and demand, the trend of spiralling costs looks set to continue.

“Prolonged resistance to the introduction of competition, combined with the ever-increasing cost of water and the slow introduction of new pricing structures, has resulted in a static UK water industry,” says Andrew Johns, director of NUS.

“Looking ahead, it is likely that the cost of water to consumers will continue to rise until the regulator insists on a change to the pricing system or forces competition upon the water companies,” he concludes.

NUS predicts that only when the regulator starts forcing reform upon the industry will UK customers see prices stabilise and possibly even reduce.