The Regulators’ Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID) was set up in 2019. It is a partnership made up of the three water regulators – Ofwat, the Environment Agency (EA) and the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI).

The National Infrastructure Commission estimated that new water supplies equivalent to the water consumed by over nine million people would be needed by the mid 2030’s. Responding to the scale of that challenge, RAPID was formed to help facilitate the development and funding of new large scale strategic water supply options by the water companies.

We work with stakeholders, taking opportunities to improve regulation and remove barriers, helping the sector respond to long term water resources challenges while promoting the best interests of water users, society and the environment.

The RAPID programme is intended to benefit England and Wales.

Paul Hickey photo‘The innovative nature of RAPID allows three regulators to come together, collaborate and work with water companies to better understand challenges and manage risks. Ultimately, we want the sector to drive forward solutions that contribute to resilient water supplies that enhance the environment, deliver value for money, meet the needs of public health and protect customers over the long term.’

Paul Hickey, Managing Director, RAPID


RAPID’s role

RAPID has been set up to identify and address issues relevant to the development of joint infrastructure projects and to analyse the feasibility of nationally strategic supply schemes. 18 schemes have been proposed so far and we are encouraging more schemes to be planned. These schemes have the potential to help meet the water needs set out in the National Framework for England.

We know that too much or too little rain has devastating effects on communities, businesses and the environment. RAPID will use the strategic supply solutions to identify opportunities to integrate approaches to water management, supporting sustainable development. This includes explicitly considering the potential to reduce flood risk alongside increasing resilience to drought. The options developed also need to aid nature recovery, deliver environmental net gain and use nature-based solutions where appropriate.

RAPID is working alongside the five regional water resources planning groups, to ensure that we have timely delivery of new infrastructure. Where necessary, we will assist the regulators in identifying and overcoming potential regulatory and commercial barriers.

RAPID’s people and governance

RAPID provides advice and recommendations to the partner regulators, DWI, Ofwat, the Environment Agency, and to Natural Resources Wales.

The RAPID Board is chaired by the CEO of Ofwat and comprises members from the senior leadership teams of the partner regulators. The RAPID Board approves the workplan and strategy, and provides oversight and guidance of RAPID’s programme of work.

RAPID is managed by the Managing Director, Paul Hickey, with support from three Directors. The rest of the RAPID programme is made up from colleagues from the partner regulators.