DWI releases update following UK's departure from EU
The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) has released an updated position paper on Drinking Water Quality in England and Wales following the UK's exit from the European Union.
The paper sets out how the DWI will continue to uphold drinking water standards as the UK leaves the EU. It outlines the DWI’s (England and Wales) position and principles of ensuring that consumers of public water supplies in England and Wales continue to have access to safe and clean drinking water after Exit Day.
In the position paper, the DWI sets out five principles of future arrangements. They are as follows:
- Consumers of drinking water in England and Wales enjoy some of the highest quality water in the world. The DWI do not expect the departure from the European Union to compromise this in any way.
- The provision of safe, clean drinking water is a national statutory requirement. Quality standards originally set out in European legislation have been transposed into national legislation together with some additional national requirements. The Floods and Water (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, which come into force on Exit Day, ensure that all relevant drinking water legislation continues to operate effectively in the UK. The Drinking Water Inspectorate is committed to maintaining drinking water standards after we leave the EU, and will continue to uphold its obligations through monitoring compliance with the current national requirements and any future national iterations.
- The current domestic legislation specifies the requirements to be met for standards and the parameters (for example methods of analysis, the risk assessment approach, monitoring frequencies and disinfection requirements, including the minimisation of disinfection by-products). These requirements have been developed based on sound scientific evidence. The legal framework for enforcing this legislation is unaffected.
- As the drinking water quality Regulator, we have been working very closely with the water industry to understand their work on assessing any key vulnerabilities related to the UK ceasing to be an EU Member State. Water companies continue to be obliged to meet their statutory responsibility of maintaining a clean water supply. As the water quality Regulator, this remains our minimum expectation and we are following their progress closely.
- The continued provision of clean water, around the clock, is a public health priority and our primary objective. Water companies have well-established communication channels with the DWI, and any incidents of non-compliance with statutory requirements are reported. Were a situation of non-compliance to occur, the DWI would be prepared to use its investigatory powers to scrutinise the actions taken by a company in order to decide what enforcement measures would be required.
The DWI was formed in 1990 to provide independent reassurance that water supplies in England and Wales are safe and drinking water quality is acceptable to consumers.
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