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Given that water quality affects us all we thought that a view from Water Regulations might be appropriate; so our latest industry interview is with Ian Mitchell, Water Regulations Manager for Severn Trent Water. Ian is also is a representative on various committees for WRAS, the Water Regulations Advisory Service.

  1. How do you feel water regulations have changed in the last few years

The regulations haven’t changed, far from it, the Regulations were set back in 1999 having replaced the Water Byelaws and have not been revised since. I feel that this is a shame as the Regulations were modelled on the outgoing Byelaws and based on plumbing practices and technology from the late 90’s. I believe it was the intention for the Regulations to be less prescriptive to allow for new innovation but over the years I have seen the interpretation of the Regulations act more as a blocker than an enabler to embrace new ideas.


  1. Would you like to see any changes in water regulations for the future

I would like to see a review of the Regulations bringing in new technology and innovation and to remove some of the old Regs which are no longer appropriate. For example, it is still a requirement for instructions on how to use duel flushing WC’s be displayed for users to see – this was correct for the old lever action devices but with new push button flushing valves it really isn’t necessary.


  1. How would you rate current water quality

We are so lucky to live in a country where the quality is really good. UK water quality is probably the best in Europe being over 99.9% compliant. It is really important that end users and installers comply with the Regulations to ensure that drinking water remains safe to drink and is not wasted


  1. What innovations would you like to see put in place to improve quality and services for the future

I would like to see more wholesite protection being installed on every supply from the mains to the customer property. This would prevent any contaminants from poor third party plumbing getting back into the public water supply.

I would also like to see a visible network to allow site of any illegal practices taking please which could have a detrimental effect on water quality. At present we tend to be investigating the water quality event after the offence has taken place – it would be brilliant if we were alerted to mis-use whilst it was taking place to allow the back up team to get out and catch the people misusing the mains in the act.


  1. What do you like to do in your leisure time

I enjoy walking in the hills, supporting my two teenage sons who both are talented musicians, playing squash, watching rugby union – supporting my local team Leicester Tigers, drinking real ale, skiing and spending many hours with my family.


  1. If you were not working with the water industry, what would you like to do

I love skiing and spending my time out in the Austrian Alps, so if I was not working with the water industry I guess my ambition would to be doing something in the ski industry, probably running a guest house and spending hours on the slopes guiding.