Draft Water Resources Management Plan 2024
At Welsh Water our vision is clear; “to earn the trust of our customers every day”. Our purpose is to provide high quality and better value drinking water and environmental services, so as to enhance the wellbeing of our customers and the communities we serve, both now and for generations to come.
We know that customers rely on us to deliver high-quality, safe and reliable services every day, no matter what is thrown at us by the weather or other operational challenges. They also need to be able to trust us to be planning well ahead, to ensure those services are sustainable and resilient over many decades to come.
We are the sixth largest water company in England and Wales, supplying water and wastewater services to just over three million people (Figure 1). We operate a variety of water sources to supply our customers. Most of our water is supplied from our impounding reservoirs although we abstract significant volumes from lowland river sources such as the River Wye in southeast Wales and the River Dee in north Wales. Groundwater accounts for less than five percent of our supplies at a Company level but at a local level, may be the whole supply.
What is a Water Resource Management Plan?
WRMPs are statutory documents that all water companies must produce at least once every five years, and which play a crucial role in securing the public water supply for the region. Water resources planning is about trying to ensure there is enough water supplied to homes and businesses while protecting the natural environment. At the heart of this is our understanding of how much water we are able to take from rivers, reservoirs and boreholes and supply to customers, not only in ‘normal years’ when we expect good supplies of rainfall across our supply area but also in periods of drought. Our forecast of water resource availability takes account of environmental factors and climate change that reduce the amount of water that can be sustainably taken from our water sources.
We need to balance how much we are able to supply against the current and future demand for water using the best data available to us. Where the supply demand balance flags a potential shortfall, to resolve it we identify options that either reduce demand or increase supplies. However, the decision on which solution is best should look at wider objectives such as maintaining good drinking water quality, meeting Government policy direction or customer’s wider preferences such as environmental impact. The investment required is then fed through into our company business plan to seek the necessary funding.
Our 2024 Water Resources Management Plan
The approaches we see as being key to the successful delivery of this Plan are:
- To comply with relevant legislation, notably the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 and The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and align with Welsh Government’s "Water Strategy for Wales 2015".
- To deliver a Best Value Plan that doesn’t just consider least cost solutions, but which looks to provide wider benefit to customers, society and the environment.
- To embed the principles of Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR) within our Plan.
- To ensure that the views of our customers and stakeholders are properly considered, particularly on service levels and the cost of the Plan.
- To ensure our decision making considers all available options to reduce demand and/or increase supply to achieve an environmentally sustainable and secure supply of water.
- To prioritise demand management over supply side options where the wider benefits of doing so provide a Best Value solution. As part of this, we are proposing a further 10% reduction in leakage rates during the 2025-2030 period.
- To improve the resilience of our supply systems to pressures such as drought and climate change. We must deliver a plan that provides resilience to a 1 in 200-year drought event and will set out our plans for improving our resilience to a 1 in 500-year drought event.
- To ensure that the Plan is compliant with all statutory requirements and to carry the required environmental assessments of the Plan.
- To ensure there is alignment between the Water Resource West Regional Plan and our company water resource management plan as we develop these plans in parallel.
- To investigate the opportunities for trading water resources with 3rd parties where this is to the benefit of our customers and not to the detriment of the environment.
We have today (16th November) published our draft Water Resources Management Plan 2024 for public consultation. The consultation will run for 14 weeks, closing on the 22nd February 2023.
We really welcome your views on our Plan to ensure that it delivers long term benefits for our customers and the environment. The main technical report, together with an executive summary, data tables and key environmental assessment information is available below. The other supporting appendices referenced in the main technical report are available on request – please contact Water.Resources@dwrcymru.com
Please send your comments on our Draft Plan to the Secretary of State if you are in England, or to the Welsh Ministers if you are in Wales, using the following email or postal addresses.
Cardiff, CF10 3NQ
Water Resources Management Plan Water Services
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seacole 3rd Floor
2 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DF