PN 24/18: Water companies need to up their game on water resource management


Ofwat has called for clear improvements from water companies in how they plan for greater resilience against drought. Planning for water resource has increased in importance due to the need to reduce the amount of water taken from the environment, and the challenges of climate change and population growth.

In its response published today to water companies’ draft water resource management plans, the regulator said that water companies could make better use of opportunities to trade water, reduce water consumption, and cut leakage in the long term. It also found that some companies need to do more to involve their customers and third parties in planning, and that the quality of some of the draft plans and supporting evidence fell short.

Ofwat also highlighted examples of good practice such as ambitious proposals to cut leakage in the short term by using satellite imagery and smart meters to locate customer supply pipe leakage.

David Black, Senior Director Water 2020 said

“We are disappointed that water companies’ draft water resources plans fell short of our expectations given the challenge to the sector for ambitious action to improve resilience.  There are examples of good practice in a number of plans, but more can be done to deliver a robust twin track approach and look harder across company boundaries to develop regional solutions and outcomes”


  • Water resources management plans (WRMPs) provide an overview of water companies resilience to drought and investment required to improve or maintain this.
  • The most recent set of plans (WRMP19) were released for public consultation in Spring 2018 and Ofwat reviewed the draft plans as a statutory consultee.