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Water abstraction licence reform - more work ahead

Water UK has warned that more work needs to be done to fully understand the effect of the proposals contained in the government's consultation on abstraction licence reform.

water companies are not the only abstractors of water resources, and there are opportunities to improve the current systemwater companies are not the only abstractors of water resources, and there are opportunities to improve the current system

The consultation, which closed on March 28, was a “useful first step”, said Water UK. “But more work is needed with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) officials and other key stakeholders to fully understand the impact of the proposals.”

Water UK’s main areas of concern are: 

  • The proposed options appear to be more complex than the current system and increased administrative costs would be reflected in higher abstraction licence charges
  • There is no assessment of how the proposals would impact the amount of water available to companies to meet demand in dry years and the consequent impact on water resource and drought management plans and investment programmes 
  • There is little consideration of the need for greater strategic planning in the provision of storage or its costs and of government’s role in the deployment of large-scale interconnection and storage assets

“Generally, the current abstraction regime has worked well for public water supply, and the regulator Ofwat has ensured this supply is affordable,” said Water UK. “However, water companies are not the only abstractors of water resources and there are opportunities to improve the current system. We expect and anticipate further public consultation.”

Author: Dean Stiles,
Topic: Policy & Regulation
Tags: water , consultation , defra , government , water companies , abstraction reform

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