Draft resource management plans fall short in eight areas says Ofwat

Ofwat last week said it was disappointed with aspects of water company draft Water Resource Management Plans for lacking ambition.

Responding as a statutory consultee to the plans published by each firm in Spring, the regulator

first noted that aspects of most company plans were in line with its expectations and good practice. But it went on to list eight areas of challenge:

  • Customer participation – some companies need to do more to involve their customers in the WRMP process.

  • Resilience – some draft plans did not sufficiently convince Ofwat that they will meet future drought and non-drought hazards effectively.

  • Leakage – while short term leakage reduction ambition for most is good, there needs to be greater consideration of long term ambition.

  • Water efficiency – there has been no step change in ambition for water efficiency over previous plans.

  • Third party options – some draft plans did not sufficiently convince us that third party options have been treated appropriately.

  • Water trading – trading in the short term falls and larger trades are frequently delayed until later in the planning period.

  • Regional solutions – some progress but regional solutions are typically delayed and this may be a missed opportunity.

  • Assurance – for some companies the quality of the draft plans, and information provided to support them, did not instil sufficient confidence in their plan.

David Black, senior director Water 2020 said: “We are disappointed that water companies’ draft water resources plans fell short of our expectations given the challenge to the sector for ambitious action to improve resilience. There are examples of good practice in a number of plans, but more can be done to deliver a robust twin track approach and look harder across company boundaries to develop regional solutions and outcomes.”