RECENTLY, I had the opportunity to lead a debate in the Senedd about challenges relating to water poverty and water quality throughout Wales.

I felt that given the dry year we have had and the unprecedented rise in household bills it was important to make sure that we don’t forget about our most important natural resource.

Whilst we are fortunate to live in a relatively wet climate, recent climate change has put serious strains on our water network, and we therefore need to make sure that we don’t take our clean, reliable water supply for granted. This means we need to address some big issues now if we are to build resilience and supply security for the future.

Welsh Water customers have the second highest water bill in the UK and the rising cost of living has left many families struggling to afford this bill.

I am therefore fighting to get the Welsh Government to support a universal affordability scheme right across Wales and the England, which will see a single scheme that reduces bills equally, thus ending the current post code lottery to financial help that we currently have.

I have also advocated in the strongest terms that the Welsh Government should work towards stopping storm overflows from pumping raw sewage into our rivers. It is an issue that has been made significantly worse by climate change and not only damages water quality affecting our fish and wildlife, but is a health risk for bathers. Moreover, consistent pollution events from raw sewage entering coastal waters is also having a huge effect on sea grass, which helps shelter fish, absorb huge amounts of CO2 and reduce coastal erosion.

I am particularly worried that the lack of effort by the Welsh Governments to take any measures to stop storm overflows risks giving tourists and residents the notion that we are a dirty country and not doing enough to protect the environment.