An analysis of the sewage dumping statistics released by Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru has revealed Wales’ rivers are some of the most sewage filled in the entire UK. The stats have sparked an angry response from the Welsh Liberal Democrats who have accused both Labour and the Conservatives of not doing enough to tackle the problem.
The latest figures show sewage was dumped in Welsh rivers 83,000 times in 2022, lasting 600,000 hours. The figures do not include data from Hafren Dyfrdwy which operates in Mid and North East Wales and is owned by Severn Trent.
The figures from Welsh Water account for more than 25% of all hours of discharges into waterways across Wales and England.
Among the worst polluted rivers are the River Garw, River Tawe, River Teifi, River Usk, River Rhymney and River Taff which are all in the top 20 most sewage filled in the UK.
The Conservatives have previously come under fire in Westminster for failing to legislate to clamp down on sewage dumping. Likewise, the Welsh Labour Government has been accused of not investing enough in tackling the problem.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have stated that the sewage releases are posing a serious risk to local wildlife and human health as well as potentially damaging the Welsh tourism industry. They have called on the Conservatives to ban bonuses for water company executives and for the money to be reinvested in improving infrastructure.
Over the last three years, the bosses of Welsh Water have received over £1 million in bonuses including almost £400,000 last year alone.
Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Senedd Member for Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said:
“It is tragic that Wales has some of the most sewage-filled rivers in the UK, many of them in my own region of Mid and West Wales. Being from Hay-on-Wye I find it desperately sad the state our rivers now find themselves in, we have watched first-hand the Wye decline seriously in health.
“The Conservatives have failed at every step to take this issue seriously. Now they expect the taxpayers to pay to clean up their mess while water company executives have spent years siphoning off money to pay themselves large bonuses.
“The Conservatives have the power to ban these bonuses but refuse to do so.
“Meanwhile Welsh Labour is failing to take responsibility for sectors of the environment that are devolved to the Welsh Government. Likewise, Natural Resources Wales continues to be underfunded.
“We need to see a much greater investment in improved infrastructure from the Welsh Government, yet sewage dumping doesn’t even seem to be on their radar, instead they seem intent on blaming farmers for our rivers' poor health.”