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About this Webinar

The City Water Debate is part of an ongoing contribution to the future governance and economic regulation of the water sector. It takes place annually on the eve of World Water Day and was initiated in 2008 by the WET 10 Group of City Livery Companies with an interest in water. It is organised by the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators.

When water companies were privatised in 1989 the new governance framework of environmental quality and economic regulation delivered significant improvements. Now, however, the whole water sector is facing a rising tide of public controversy, including issues such as pollution from sewer outfalls, increasing water shortages and hosepipe bans, leakage rates, metering, climate change impact, catchment management, planning barriers and funding.


About the Speaker

Sir Dieter Helm CBE is Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Economics at New College, Oxford. From 2012 to 2020, he was Independent Chair of the Natural Capital Committee. He has provided extensive advice to governments in UK and elsewhere in Europe, and has been involved in the UK water sector since the early days up to his current emphasis on how to manage river and water catchments to tackle climate change.

Alan Lovell DL became the Chair of the Environment Agency in July 2022. He is Chair of the Interserve Group Ltd, and is Senior Independent Director of SIG plc and Chair of Safestyle UK plc. His executive career included time as a Chief Executive of six companies, including Infinis, Jarvis, Costain and Dunlop Slazenger. He was also Chair of the Consumer Council for Water for four years and has chaired the University of Winchester and the Mary Rose Trust.

Iain Coucher became Chair of OFWAT in July 2022, having previously held a number of senior executive roles, including that of Chief Executive at the Atomic Weapons Establishment and Network Rail. He has also been a non-executive director for Cadent Gas plc and a Board Member for the Rail Safety and Standards Board. He is currently a senior adviser at HIG Capital, a leading global investment fund, as well as a Trustee of the British Trust for Ornithology.

Lila Thompson is the Chief Executive of British Water. She joined the Board of Glas Cymru, the not-for-profit company which owns Welsh Water, as a Non-Executive Director in September 2022. She is also a member of the Transition Board of Spring, the water sector’s innovation centre of excellence, a Trustee on the Board of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and of St Christopher’s Hospice.

John Hirst CBE became Chair of Anglian Water in April 2020. He is Chair of the British Standards Institution (BSI), SUDEP Action and SMi, a biotech start up. He is a Director of IMIS Global Limited and Afontech Limited. He was Chief Executive of the Met Office from 2007 to 2014, Group Chief Executive of Premier Farnell plc between 1998 and 2005 and a Director of Hammerson plc between 2004 and 2014. He has also previously Chaired the National Oceanography Centre and has been a Trustee of Epilepsy Research UK.

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