A challenging but successful year for Guernsey Water in 2019
In a year when customer bills were frozen, 2019 was another successful year for Guernsey Water and this is reflected in the utility's operational performance. Drinking water quality compliance remained high at 99.85% and despite lower than normal water resource levels after the summer, there were no water use restrictions during the year.
Guernsey Water did face some financial challenges and has reported a deficit of £768k for the year. This was primarily due to a one-off write down of a number of assets and stock items that were being held for re-purposing after Longue Hougue water treatment works was decommissioned. These assets had a value of £530k.
Guernsey Water's operating surplus for the year was £4.6m, a reduction of 22% from 2018, primarily due to a slight reduction in the demand for water, a freeze in the overall bill for customers and an increase in operational maintenance costs. A revenue adjustment of £204k was also required as a result of £1.3m of grants being repaid to the States of Guernsey in the year. Despite these pressures Guernsey Water was able to keep operating and management expenses to 1% below budget.
£4.1 million was invested in improving and maintaining services, which included two large scale infrastructure projects that had started in previous years. Juas Water Treatment Works was re-commissioned and a new sewer in La Hure Mare was constructed, which was phase three of the work to help alleviate flooding and pollution from sewer overflows in St. Sampson.
Steve Langlois, managing director of Guernsey Water, said: "a priority for Guernsey Water is to ensure a firm financial foundation for the long term sustainability of our business. This includes the affordability of our services, so we were pleased to be able to freeze our charges for customers in 2019.
"A highlight of the year was completing two significant projects which will help us to produce drinking water more efficiently, improve the service we provide our customers and protect our environment from pollution.
"As a result of decommissioning Longue Hougue and bringing Juas water treatment works back on line, we have had to write off several operational assets at our Longue Hougue site. However, we are already seeing improvements in operational performance, better water quality and a lower cost of water production at Juas. This means that over the whole life of the refurbishment at Juas we will still make significant savings".
The 2019 annual report also details the strategic planning that helps keep the island's water services sufficient and resilient in future. In 2019 Guernsey Water published a summary of its Water Resources and Drought Management Plan. This confirmed that up to 2040 the utility should expect a fine balance between forecast supply and demand during a repeat of the more severe historic droughts that Guernsey has experienced.
Guernsey Water's water resources and drought management plan can be viewed here [1Mb]
"We believe that planning ahead is the best way to ensure Guernsey Water provides a resilient service into the future. Being prepared and knowing exactly where our water resource levels should be during each part of the year means that we can manage the risk of water use restrictions for our customers." added Mr Langlois.
Guernsey Water's full annual report can be viewed below