Jersey Water has published its Annual Report and Financial Statements and Water Quality Report today and is reporting a profit of £1.593 million for the nine-month period up to 30 September 2019, following a change to its financial year-end from 31 December.
When compared to the first nine months of 2018, turnover increased by 4.4% to £13.229 million. Profit for the period stands at £1.593 million compared to £2.325 million for the same time period in 2018. The reduction in profit for the period was lower than expected and is due to a 15% increase in operating expenditure which totalled £10.643 million as the Company invested in two key strategic projects; the Water Resource Management Plan and its Digital Transformation Programme. Operating costs were also influenced by the dry weather resulting in increased energy consumption, Brexit preparations, higher pension charges and refusal of the planning application on the proposed bypass at Val de la Mare.
Water quality in the period continued to be of a very high quality, with an overall compliance rate of 99.97% (31 December 2018: 99.99%). The water supplied by the Company was fully compliant with all regulations for nitrates and pesticides. The Company is also reporting the results of its annual customer survey in which it outperformed both the UK Utilities sector and All-Sector benchmarks on three key customer service measures.
The first three quarters of 2019 saw £2.818 million of capital investment in the Company’s infrastructure. This included the replacement and extension of more than 2km of mains network, connection of 276 new properties to mains water, work to reduce leakage and £587,000 on improvements to the Desalination Plant.
Water resources were a key feature of the period in which rainfall was 18.8% less that the 5-year average. The dry winter and summer meant ground water levels did not replenish and reservoir levels did not reach full until March 2019 and then only for a short while, before declining over the spring and summer to end the period at 58% full, well below the average for that time of the year. Operation of the desalination plant commenced on 23 September 2019, for the purposes of topping up reservoir levels and testing recent modifications to the plant.
Jersey Water’s Chief Executive, Helier Smith, said:
“2019 has been a successful period for Jersey Water, during which we made significant progress on the delivery of several key strategic projects whilst ensuring that, despite challenges, we continued to supply water of the very highest standard and customer service at a level of which everyone at Jersey Water is very proud.”
“One of the key focusses on the period has been the development of the Water Resources Management Plan which has highlighted that if no action is taken, in severe drought years, there will be a growing shortfall between the demand for water and the water available for use; driven principally by the effects of climate change and predicted population growth. We are looking at a range of options to both reduce demand and increase water resources. Our Island Plan submission made the case for a new reservoir on the site of Gigoulande Quarry that would provide much needed additional storage capacity for generations to come.”
“As an island with only 120 days of water storage when full, we are vulnerable to water shortages and drought. Over the winter period, we lose a considerable amount of water to the sea simply because we have insufficient capacity to store it. The potential to repurpose the quarry as a water storage reservoir provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure a key piece of infrastructure, for the benefit of the island, that if ignored, will never present itself again. We look forward to working further on this important strategic project with Islanders when we consult on our Water Resources Management Plan during 2020.”