In October 2022, Defra asked English water companies to propose schemes for accelerated additional infrastructure delivery in 2023-24 and 2024-25 that would provide benefits for customers, communities, and the environment.
The proposed schemes should focus on three areas:
- Water resilience (supply and demand),
- Storm overflows, and
- Nutrient neutrality.
We were pleased to receive formal submissions from all English water companies, bar SES.
When requesting proposals Defra set out several criteria, which given the accelerated nature of the process, included schemes had to be clear and uncontroversial. Other criteria included that projects needed to start this price control period (2020-25) and be finished by the end of next price control period (2025-30), schemes needed to provide additional benefits and schemes needed to be deliverable.
A key part of the criteria for acceleration is that companies would use the PR24 transition expenditure programme to fund the investments. This required Ofwat to make decisions on which schemes can be funded through the transition expenditure process, and we also considered the views of other regulators. This includes the Environment Agency, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), the Consumer Council for Water (CCW) and Natural England (NE).
In April 2023, Ofwat set our draft decision to support the acceleration of 31 schemes, across 11 companies, valued at around £500 million over the 2023-2025 period and £1.6 billion overall.
In summary we propose to support:
- £1.1bn to tackle storm overflows improving over 250 storm overflows and reducing the annual average of spills by 10,000, this includes work to improve water quality at the bathing water site at Ilkley on the River Wharfe and significantly reduce spills into Lake Windemere.
- £400m for water resilience schemes including installation of 462,000 smart meters and new water resource and water quality projects – in total these projects will deliver and protect 159Ml/d of water supply – helping to increase drought resilience.
- £160m to help reduce nutrient pollution and create nutrient neutrality at 14 locations –protecting natural ecosystems, enabling the development of up to 82,500 homes and boosting economic development.
Accelerated infrastructure delivery project: draft decisions
Accelerated infrastructure delivery project: draft decisions – Executive summary
Accelerated infrastructure delivery project: Appendix 1 draft detailed assessment
Accelerated infrastructure delivery project Appendix 2: draft price control deliverables