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  • by Karma Loveday

Regulators endorse business sector water efficiency action plan

In a joint letter, the Environment Agency and Ofwat have endorsed the action plan developed by the Retailer Wholesaler Group’s Water Efficiency Subgroup to deliver greater water efficiency in the business sector.

The regulators said they supported the actions set out, as well as the collaborative nature of the plan development and the industry-led approach. On the latter, the letter pointed out: “Industry have a range of tools available to them to address and implement water efficiency initiatives, for example including: trading party initiated amendments to relevant industry Codes; consideration of incentives via the Market Performance Framework; and development and use of commercial arrangements or incentives between wholesalers and retailers, and retailers and business customers. A further potential resource available to trading parties that we would urge you to consider is the Ofwat innovation competition and fund; innovations to improve water efficiency are included within its scope.”

However, the EA and Ofwat also recognised the need for regulatory support “and possibly action” and said: “We reiterate our commitment to support industry and maintain a dialogue regarding the issues and barriers that industry may identify. And to consider evidence-based recommendations aimed at addressing barriers where such solutions may require amendments to relevant regulatory arrangements. We are also ready to assist in other ways, for example in terms of data and transparency concerning progress across the industry.”

Regarding next steps, the letter noted Defra is expected to establish its Senior Water Demand Steering Group in Spring and that: “This will provide a useful opportunity to review progress against the Action plan to ensure the business sector is well placed to make a significant contribution to meeting national needs for delivering water on a long-term, sustainable basis. Ofwat and EA will take particular note of progress at that point and whether to also look at ways to improve performance if required.”


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