I attended the meeting last night at which Dŵr Cymru/Welsh Water explained their plans in relation to "Saving the Teifi".
Thoughts here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of "Save the Teifi". I haven't tried to cover all issues discussed. If readers who were present disagree with my response or description then do please reply to the thread!
First of all it is important to note that many agencies (Welsh Government/River authority/local councils/Natural Resources Wales) and not just Welsh Water are involved in controlling the future of our river and other rivers.
Welsh Water explained their plans for turning around the extremely bad situation in respect to the river with detailed schedules and budget projections, and it is noted that the organization showed it actually wants to reach out to the local community, so these are positives.
However, the biggest takeaway from the meeting was the shocking fact that THE BEST CASE SCENARIO FOR CLEANING UP THE TEIFI WAS 30 YEARS!!!! All at the meeting were united in finding that totally unacceptable.
There needs to be leadership and energy in pressurizing ALL THE RELEVANT ORGANIZATIONS AND GOVERNMENT BODIES TO MAKE THIS A MORE URGENT ISSUE. Save the Teifi exist to be part of that.
3 of the issues:
Currently Welsh Water are looking at pollution from phosphorus/phosphates and have a plan which seems somewhat unsatisfactory from a few angles (without wishing to underestimate the complexity of the task) At the same time there is no plan for dealing with other pollutants, a fact which WW themselves acknowledged was not satisfactory.
The matter of seriously dealing with the current system of pipes combining the tasks of removing sewage and removing storm overflow (a system which makes for very serious pollution incidents when there is heavy rain) seemed to elicit the response that it was an impossible task ("you'll never find enough people to do this task; I don't think people would like most roads in the country to be dug up" etc. etc.).
In addition there are clearly some pretty severe and urgent issues relevant to Cardigan itself, which were partially acknowledged but no really significant actions to solve them.
Of course Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water will not have limitless money, and other bodies may have the power to effect much more ambitious change, but my personal feeling was that THEY DISPLAYED A LACK OF AMBITION to grasp the wider issue and problems, (though working well within their current confines and as mentioned willing to engage with the community).
It is important that people power is brought to bear, so the "Save the Teifi" is working hard and doing a brilliant job to coordinate this effort and increase proper public debate which can generate real pressure on governement and the various bodies concerned.
Do we really want to sit by and wait for 30 years "rearranging the furniture on the Titanic"???
It was a good meeting. Around 50 people attended. WW/DC presentation was interesting - the reaction in the audience was mixed: pleased that something is being done, but anger about the long time scales: wanting action much more quickly and with wider and more stringent pollution controll levels.
It seems WW/DC investment is driven in response to the environmental regulators. And it appears WW/DC do respond to the regulations - but the regulations need to be more stringent and that's down to NRW and WelshGov.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the NRW permits are not adequate to protect against pollution and breaches are not enforced!