New Water Act 2014 (England & Wales)

The Water Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 14 May 2014, and amends the Water Industry Act 1991.

The purpose of the 2014 Act is 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 drought and floods.

Amongst the main measures for the water sector are:

– enabling all business, charity and public sector customers in England to switch their water and sewerage supplier
– establishing a cross-border arrangement with Scotland
– enabling businesses to provide new sources of water or sewerage treatment services
– developing a national water supply network by making it easier for water companies to buy and sell water from each other
– enabling owners of small-scale water storage to sell excess water into the public supply
– enabling ministers to set the level to which a water company needs to plan to cope with droughts
– enabling developers and new water or sewage companies to connect new building developments to the water mains and sewerage system.

The Act also includes additional measures:

– providing measures to restore the sustainable abstraction of water
improving the way water resource management and drought planning are managed
– providing powers to streamline the environmental permitting framework which enables operators to apply for a single rather than multiple permits with the inclusion of licensing schemes for water abstraction and impounding, fish passes and flood defence consents
– encouraging the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) by clarifying that building and maintenance of SuDS can be a function of sewerage undertakers
– transferring the responsibility for maintaining main river maps to the Environment Agency and the Natural Resources Body for Wales.

The Act and Explanatory Notes are found here.

The Act and Explanatory Notes are here on the legislation.gov.uk website.

The Act extensively amends the Water Industry Act 1991 – subscribers to Cardinal Tailored EHS Legislation Registers will have the re consolidated Water Industry Act 1991 uploaded to their websystems shortly.

Various dates apply to commencement, and Cardinal green text will make this clear in the re consolidated Water Industry Act 1991.

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