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Water Act 2014 (Chapter 21).

Type of law
Date of original text

This Act brings about a reform of legislation concerning the water industry and management and conservation of water resources and related environmental matters in the United Kingdom. The purpose of the 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 to bring forward measures to address the availability and affordability of insurance for those households at high flood risk and ensure a smooth transition to the free market over the longer term. The Act consists of 6 Parts: Water industry (1); Water resources (2); Environmental regulation (3); Flood insurance (4); Miscellaneous (5); General and final (6). The Act makes extensive amendments to the Water Industry Act 1991 with respect to the water licensing regime and a sewerage licensing regime. It focuses mainly on retail market arrangements in the water industry across the United Kingdom.
The Act, in respect of the water industry, among other things: enables change of water and sewerage supplier and establishes a cross-border arrangement with Scotland to provide new sources of water or sewerage treatment services; makes it easier for water companies to buy and sell water from each other; enables owners of small-scale water storage to sell excess water into the public supply; allows ministers to set the level to which a water company needs to plan to cope with droughts; improves the rules relating to merger of water sewage undertakers; provides the Water Services Regulation Authority a new duty to take greater account of long-term resilience; improves the Authority s capacity of regulation of the water industry.
The Act furthermore; provides measures to restore the sustainable abstraction of water; improves the way water resource management and drought planning are managed; provides 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; encourages the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS); provides for easier governance of Internal Drainage Boards; transfer the responsibility for maintaining main river maps to the Environment Agency and the Natural Resources Body for Wales; amends other legislation with respect to Regional Flood and Coastal Committees.
Long title of text
An Act to make provision about the water industry; about compensation for modification of licences to abstract water; about main river maps; about records of waterworks; for the regulation of the water environment; about the provision of flood insurance for household premises; about internal drainage boards; about Regional Flood and Coastal Committees; and for connected purposes.
Date of consolidation/reprint
Entry into force notes
Provisions of this Act enter into force upon royal assent.
This version of the Act is up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 19 August 2018.
Source language


Legislation Amendment