Overall responsibility for setting the policy and regulatory framework for water in England sits with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (the Department), which oversees a complex delivery landscape of multiple regulators and privately-owned water companies. Ofwat regulates the services provided by water companies and sets them performance targets during its five-yearly price control process. The Environment Agency manages the water resource management process and must ensure water companies and other water abstractors abide by the terms of their environmental permits and licenses. These cover how much water they can take out of the environment and how they should handle and treat sewage.
Demand for water is about 14 billion litres per day in England and Wales. Due to rising demand and falling supply of water the Environment Agency now estimates that England will need an extra 3.6 billion litres per day by 2050 to avoid shortages. Water companies have a statutory requirement to set out every five years how they intend to balance supply and demand over the next 25 years through their water resource management plans.
Published: 10 July 2020