CAMPAIGNERS will stage a protest outside a water company’s headquarters after a string of “serious failures”.

Last month a damning report showed Southern Water had spilled wastewater into the environment and lied about its performance.

As a result it agreed to pay £126 million in penalties and payments to customers.

Today protesters, led by activist group We Own It, will descend on the company’s Worthing base to demand that water companies return to public ownership.

We Own It campaigns officer Ellen Lees said: “The story of water privatisation is a story of failure.

“We’ve had 30 years of rising bills, shareholders and CEOs pocketing millions, and private companies failing to fix leaks in the system.

“Now we’re speaking out and saying time’s up for private water companies that have ripped us off, polluted our rivers and allowed cash to flow straight from our bills into their shareholders’ bank accounts.

“Now we’re saying it’s time for public ownership”

A Water UK spokesman said: “Privatisation of the water and sewerage industry has achieved a great deal over the last 30 years - nearly £160 billion of investment, a healthier environment, better water quality and improved service to customers.

“Nationalisation would risk turning back the clock to the days when service and quality failures were far more common, and cash-strapped governments wouldn’t pay for the improvements needed.”