Water 2020

Our shared vision for the water sector in England and Wales is one where customers and wider society have trust and confidence in water. Delivering this vision relies on everyone in the sector working together, listening to customers and tackling long-term challenges.

We are making changes to the way we regulate in the future to make sure we fully play our part and can tackle the major challenges facing the sector: population growth, climate change and ongoing affordability.

It is important that we do that because making sure we regulate in the most effective way means we can help to deliver the best outcome for customers and help us to secure trust and confidence in water.

What have we done so far?

Water 2020 has built on the significant changes we introduced in PR14. Since then, we have set out changes to the regulatory framework which will:

  • Strengthen the role of customers and customer challenge groups in water companies’ decision making
  • Promote new markets in bioresources (a product of the treatment of sewage) and water resources, which will drive innovation, efficiency and greater resilience
  • Pushed companies to opening up high value infrastructure schemes to competition from third parties through our proposals for direct procurement for customers
  • Stop using the outdated RPI measure of inflation, moving to a measure based on consumer price.

To deliver these changes we have amended company licences so we can implement these changes to how we regulate.

What are the benefits of the changes we have made?

Changing the way we regulate delivers benefits for customers, the environment and investors.

Customers will benefit from more resilient and efficient services, having access to further information about how their company performs. Companies can focus on what they do really well and where they add value.

What’s next?

Having set out our decisions on the improving our regulatory approach, we need to prepare to apply that in the next price review to be completed by 2019 – PR19.

Every five years, we carry out a price review. This review sets limits on what companies can charge customers for their water and what service customers can expect. Over the course of 2017, we will consult on, and then finalise, the methodology for the price review – that is the rulebook for how we will conduct the price review.

As we do that, there will be four themes that will be at the front of our minds:

  • First, customer service. We want to see a real improvement in the services customers receive.
  • Second, resilience – and by that we mean resilience in the round. That covers resilient supply, resilient systems that recover quickly from problems like bursts and floods, resilient companies with sound governance, and securing resilience for our environment. It also means tackling issues that could compromise resilience – like leakage, wasting water, and bad debt.
  • Third, we want to see affordable bills, which offer value for money and are clear, fair and as low as they can be while ensuring there is the right amount of investment for the future.
  • Finally, we want to see much more innovation. Companies have not done enough to test themselves to improve and innovate.

Key documents

View further Water 2020 published documents.