Updating the determination of water stressed areas in England

Closes 11 Mar 2021

Opened 11 Feb 2021

Overview

Water is a vital part of our environment. When an area is determined to be in serious water stress by the Secretary of State for the Environment, the water company for that area must publish a water resources management plan that considers all options to manage demand more effectively – including metering and greater leakage reduction.

This is a consultation on our proposed updated method and results for determining areas of water stress in England for metering. The final assessment will provide the Environment Agency’s advice to the Secretary of State.

We have used the latest data produced for the National Framework for water resources and water companies’ water resources management plans that were published in 2020. Using the latest data from these plans has improved our understanding of water resources needs. This includes the impact of climate change, pressure on the environment and how to meet the challenges they create.

We need your views on our updated methods and the data we have used to determine water stress areas, so that we can forward our final proposals to the Secretary of State.

We will use the determination to inform if water companies, in areas of serious water stress can consider charging for water by metered volume for all customers which is called compulsory metering. This is one of the options they can consider in their water resources management plans to manage water supplies.

Why we are consulting

The purpose of this consultation is to gather people and organisations’ views on the revised approach to determining areas of serious water stress in England.

A lot has changed since the last time the water stress determination was updated in 2013, found here. The National Framework for water resources and water companies’ water resources management plans were published in 2020. Using the latest data from these plans has improved our understanding of water resources needs. This includes the impacts of climate change, pressure on the environment and how to meet the challenges they create.

We will use your responses to this consultation as part of our decision making for our revised approach. We will then make our recommendation to the Secretary of State. He will then decide on which areas should be determined as an area of serious water stress. This will allow the water companies to target  those areas of greatest need and provide greatest potential benefits by using their water efficiency measures.

We feel it is important to consult with the organisations and individuals that could be affected by these results.

Please see below for the main Water Stress consultation document, along with Appendix 2 and Appendix 3. 

Water stress consultation document Version1 - 2021.

Your browser does not support inline PDF viewing.Please download the PDF.

 Appendix 2 Longer Term Environmental Water Needs - Enhanced Scenario (below) Version 1

Your browser does not support inline PDF viewing.Please download the PDF.

Appendix 3 Assessment of Water Stress Methodology Version 1 (below)

Your browser does not support inline PDF viewing.Please download the PDF.

The above documents may also be found in the 'related documents' section at the bottom of this page. 

Give us your views

Audiences

  • Members of the public
  • Local councils
  • Water companies
  • Members of the public

Interests

  • Water resources
  • Drought