The water resource position of Welsh Water’s area of supply is relatively strong. We abstract around 3% of annual effective rainfall for public supply in our region, compared to around 50% in the south and east of England.
Around 95% of our water resources originate as surface water either from reservoir storage or river abstractions. We have very little dependence on groundwater supplies. This reliance on surface waters can increase vulnerability to short periods of low rainfall as river levels change more quickly than groundwaters.
All Welsh Water’s abstractions are licensed by Natural Resources Wales and the Environment Agency who are responsible for ensuring the sustainable use of water resources in Wales and England. These licences set the maximum volume and rate at which water can be abstracted each day throughout the year. Rivers in Wales have high ecological status and licences are set to ensure that this is maintained. Releases from Welsh Water’s reservoirs during dry spells help to maintain river flows.
Our Water Resources Management Plan
To ensure that water is available to our customers when it is needed and in the quantity required, Welsh Water prepares and maintains a Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP), which forecasts over a 25 year period the supply and demand balance across our water supply area.
We were directed by Welsh Government to publish our Final WRMP in May 2014. This WRMP was subject to a full public consultation process and the Final WRMP has been developed to reflect the outcomes of the consultation.
Our Drought Plan
To ensure we are able to manage water and maintain supplies during extremely hot and dry weather conditions, Welsh Water prepares and maintains a Drought Plan. This document sets out the key indicators of drought and the operational strategy, management structures and communications plan that would be implemented during a drought.
Welsh Water produced its Draft Drought Plan in March 2014. The Draft Drought Plan 2014 reflects how we will use the new powers provided to water companies under the Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order 2010. This plan will be published for public consultation once we receive direction from Welsh Government.