The water sector, encompassing not just clean water but also wastewater, is facing many challenges.
The combination of a growing population and climate change predictions is adding to the pressure for further regulatory intervention, whilst the risk of flooding is becoming more real.
'Future Water!' the Government's water strategy for England sought to find a solution to the growing demand for a finite resource, whilst also addressing the contradictory problem of flooding, which came to the fore in the summer floods of 2007. This strategy has brought forward a number of legislative and regulatory reforms, such as those contained in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, the implementation of which will, at least in the short term, pose further questions to the industry.
'Water for Life' the Government's strategy for future water management seeks a vision for future water management where the water sector is resilient, where water companies are more efficient and customer focused and where water is highly valued as the precious resource that it is. The Government published its draft Water Bill on July 2012 and reflects a large part of what had been proposed in 'Water for Life'. The Bill will now undergo pre- legislative scrutiny in Parliament. Implementation of the proposed opening of the retail market is proposed for 2017 at the earliest and the prospect of the necessary legislative changes to the abstraction regime is put back to the next Parliament. Much for the industry to still ponder.