Water today, water tomorrow
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Our approach to enforcement sets out how we will enforce compliance in a reasonable and transparent way. This is one of the strands of our strategy.

We may become aware of a company failing to meet its obligations by the company self reporting, via a whistleblower, via a complaint from a third party or as a result of our monitoring.  If we become aware of a company that is failing we will consider the most appropriate action to take.

When we consider and pursue enforcement action our aims are to secure compliance and change behaviour so that consumers’ interests are protected, both at the company involved and across the industry.

Our principal enforcement powers are under the Water Industry Act 1991.  To secure compliance and change behaviour we can obtain legally binding undertakings and impose enforcement orders.  For the most serious contraventions we can impose financial penalties on companies. Our approach is set out in our statement of policy on financial penalties (PDF - 160Kb). If we impose financial penalties, then under the terms of the Act that money has to be paid into the Consolidated Fund operated by the Treasury. The money is used by the Government for spending on public services.

We also have powers under The Competition Act 1998, the Enterprise Act 2002 and under Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty. 

Recent enforcement action


If you work for a water company or are involved in the work that a water company does and you have concerns about improper practices within the company, please see our whistleblowing policy.

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