Last edited 23 May 2018

Water Act 2014


[edit] Introduction

The Water Act 2014 received Royal Assent in May 2014. It amended the Water Industry Act 1991 and also introduced changes to other legislation. It was seen as a major development for companies operating within the industry and for commercial water customers.

The aim of the Act was to reform the water industry to make it more innovative and responsive to customers and to increase the resilience of water supplies to natural hazards such as droughts and floods. The Act was intended to introduce competition into the market and bring benefits to businesses and the economy.

The Act applies to England and Wales, with some provisions also applying in Scotland.

[edit] Structure

The Water Act 2014 is split into six parts, 95 sections and 12 schedules. The six parts are:

  • Part 1: Water industry.
  • Part 2: Water resources.
  • Part 3: Environmental regulation.
  • Part 4: Flood insurance.
  • Part 5: Miscellaneous.
  • Part 6: General and final.

[edit] Key points

The Act made provisions to:

  • Enable businesses, charities and public sector customers to switch water suppliers from 2017.
  • Establish a cross-border agreement with Scotland.
  • Help to address the growing pressure on water resources by making supply more resilient through new companies offering new sources of water.
  • Help to link the national water network, by facilitating the process for water companies to buy and sell water from each other.
  • Enable small-scale water storage owners to sell excess water into the public supply.
  • Increase competition and encourage new companies into the market who can offer alternative sources of water or innovative ways of treating sewerage.
  • Enable ministers to define the level at which a water company is required to plan to deal with droughts.
  • Ensure households in the highest flood risk areas are entitled to affordable flood insurance from 2015.
  • Enable developers and any new water or sewage companies to connect new building developments to the water mains and sewage system.
  • Improve regulations that relate to the merger of water sewage undertakers.
  • Emphasise the role of Ofwat and give them an over-arching role to consider long-term resilience and changes to improve regulation of the water industry.
  • Provide measures to restore sustainable abstraction of water and the encouragement for the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

The Stationary Office published a guidance document to accompany the Water Act 2014 which is available to download.

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