Ofwat is a statutory consultee for the 2024 round of water resources management plans (WRMP24) and is working with the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales to contribute to the Water Resources Planning Guidelines that companies follow in preparing their plans.
Ofwat’s expectations for the strategic planning frameworks for PR24, of which water resources management plans (WRMPs) are one, is summarised in this letter to companies: Ofwat’s expectations for strategic planning frameworks at PR24
As outlined in the Water Resource Planning Guideline, we expect to hold a WRMP24 pre-consultation meeting with each of the 17 largest water companies in England and Wales by the end of January 2022. At this meeting companies will discuss their ambition, methods and approaches to developing their WRMP24 plan. To support these discussions, we have provided a briefing pack detailing our expectations for the meeting.
Companies will produce draft plans for public consultation in summer 2022 and Ofwat’s responses to these will be published on this webpage. Based on the responses received, water companies will revise their plans and submit them to the relevant Government for final approval. The final plans are due to be published from the summer of 2023 onwards.
Water companies are also working together and with other water users to develop regional water resource plans. These plans are working to similar timelines as the water companies are for WRMP24. As part of the development of the regional water resources plans, the regional groups are publishing method statements to explain how the plans will be developed. Ofwat’s views on the published regional group method statements are included here:
- WRSE resilience framework consultation response (July 2020)
- Water Resources South East (WRSE) method statement response (January 2021)
- Water Resources East (WRE) method statement response (January 2021)
- Water Resources North (WRN) method statement response (January 2021)
- Water Resources West (WRW) method statement response (January 2021)
- West Country Water Resources (WCWR) method statement response (January 2021)
Each of the five regional groups published an emerging plan for consultation on 17 January 2022. These are intended to:
- Signal early sight of the big challenges and candidate solutions (including strategic water resource solutions in the RAPID programme) to get initial feedback from stakeholders.
- Report outputs from the inter-regional reconciliation and best value selection processes.
- Be widely available and a way of gathering broad views from interested parties.
- Represent an important step in an ongoing process of plan development. The revised plans expected in the autumn will inform whether individual strategic water resource solutions included in the RAPID programme will progress.
We have reviewed these plans and responded to all five consultations. The responses are included below.