Water is the most important commodity for daily life and the water industry in England is heavily regulated. The role of our regulators is to ensure that we adhere to our licence obligations. There are a number of regulators we work with on a daily basis, each governing a specific area of the industry.
The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) is the economic regulator of the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales. Ofwat acts independently from the Government and aims to provide consumers with value for money. Ofwat establish the limit on how much individual water companies can charge their customers, and aims to protect the standard of service customers receive from their supplier
Customers are represented in the water industry by an independent body called the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater). CCWater acts on behalf of water and sewerage customers in England and Wales.
We are independently regulated, along with all other water companies in England and Wales, by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). The DWI acts on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the National Assembly for Wales. Its role is to assess the wholesomeness of water supplies. It also undertakes technical audits of water suppliers to examine all aspects of water quality, treatment and monitoring.
In addition, the DWI requires each water supplier to submit quality data on a monthly basis for scrutiny. Where necessary, the DWI can require a company to implement schemes to improve water quality, and will monitor their progress.
The Environment Agency (EA) seeks to maintain and improve the quality of ‘raw’ water in England and Wales, and is responsible for issuing water companies with abstraction licences. The EA is concerned with the quality of fresh surface and underground water, marine and estuarial waters, and strives to prevent/reduce the threat of water contamination.
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has overall responsibility for all aspects of water law and policy in England, including waster supply, water resources management and regulatory systems for the water environment, drinking water and water industry.