Ofwat accepts NIC recommendation for national water planning

Statutory processes for water resources and drought planning may need to change to enable national water supply planning according to Ofwat chief executive, Rachel Fletcher. The observation came in a letter of 31 May (published last week) to Defra parliamentary under-secretary, David Rutley, in which Fletcher accepted recent proposals for resilience planning by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).

In Ofwat’s initial reaction to the NIC’s Preparing for a drier future report,

Fletcher (pictured) said “Ofwat shares the NIC’s ambition to increase the level of resilience substantially over the period to 2050 and agree with the NIC that planning at the national level is needed to reveal the most cost effective supply-side solutions”.

Fletcher pointed out: “In the longer term, as experience of integrated national planning develops, we believe it will be necessary to review whether the existing statutory process for water resources and drought planning remains the most effective way of planning to meet the long term challenges the NIC have highlighted.” She also cited the “weaknesses” flagged up by the NIC in current disaggregated company level planning processes.

Copying her letter to the NIC, the Environment Agency, Water UK and the chairs of regional water resource planning groups, the Fletcher called for parties to work through the issues together.