Abstraction Reform – Government publish new plan
With increasing demand adding pressure to the country’s supply of clean and safe water, the goverment has published its abstraction reform plan. The plan is designed to improve access to water by:
- preventing unsustainable abstraction by reviewing existing licences and introducing more controls to protect rivers, lakes and groundwater
- developing a strong focus on catchment areas for water bodies to encourage more partnership working between the Environment Agency, abstractors and catchment groups to protect and enhance the environment and improve access to water
- modernising the abstraction service to allow online applications for licences and bring water resources regulations in line with other environmental permitting regulations
Latest data shows, 5% of surface water bodies and 15% of groundwater bodies are at risk from increasing water use by current abstraction licence holders that could damage the environment. From January 2018 the Environment Agency will begin to regulate around 5,000 water users that have been historically exempt from regulation, creating a fairer system and helping to protect the environment. This work should see around 90% of surface water bodies and 77% of groundwater bodies meet the required standards by 2021.