• by Karma Loveday

Environment Agency seeks tougher drought resilience in draft guideline

Updated: Aug 2

The Environment Agency has included a requirement for English water companies to be resilient to any drought of a return period of once in 500 years in its updated draft water resources planning guideline.


The agency is consulting until 2 October on the guideline which was produced jointly with Ofwat and Natural Resources Wales, to guide water companies on what to include in their Water Resources Management Plans (WRMPs).


The last version of the guideline dates to 2017 and has been significantly revised. As well as tougher drought resilience the guideline included:

  • water companies should use natural capital in decision-making and provide environmental net gain through their WRMPs;

  • water companies should plan to provide a long-term destination for the environment by reducing abstraction where it is causing the most environmental damage; and

  • water companies in England should take account of regional plans.

There are also changes around baseline assumptions for demand management; updated guidance on climate change and when to consider adaptive planning; and use of the drought vulnerability framework to assess vulnerability to drought.


The final version of the guideline is due in January 2021.

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