Water Working Group
Chair: Carrie Hume, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Vice Chair: Janina Gray, Salmon & Trout Association
Secretary: Kate Hand
The Water Working Group seeks to restore the ecology of the UK’s rivers, lakes, ponds and wetlands by seeking improvements to water policy at an England level, including advocacy around the Water White Paper. Through the Blueprint for Water coalition, the group will continue to campaign for the 10 steps to sustainable water.
Update from the group:
Blueprint for Water members held a teleconference on 17 April to discuss the new Blueprint, which will replace the Blueprint 2010. It was agreed that the Blueprint 2015 will be published in November 2014, and that the coalition will seek to engage a wide range of stakeholders in its development, including government, statutory agencies, water companies, the farming sector, local catchment level initiatives, professional institutes, customers’ representatives and businesses. In preparing the Blueprint 2015, the coalition will look at whether it is necessary to change or refresh the 10 steps themselves, as well as the asks under each step.
Thames Water dinner
On 9 April members of the Blueprint for Water coalition attended a dinner hosted by Thames Water Chief Executive Martin Baggs. The focus of discussions during the evening were on Thames Waters' new 25-year water resource plan, due to be published in May, as well as the draft Water Bill and progress on the proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel.
Meeting with Gavin Shuker MP
On 24 April members of the Blueprint for Water met with Gavin Shuker MP, Shadow Defra Minister, to discuss the Water Bill. Blueprint members raised concerns around abstraction reform, the need for a sustainability duty for Ofwat and the need to remove the limits on fines so polluters compensate for the real cost of the damage they cause.
Meeting with Yorkshire Water
On 25 April Link members gave a presentation on the Blueprint for Water’s 10 steps to sustainable water and advocacy targets for PR14 at Yorkshire Water’s Environmental Advisory Panel meeting. There was also a discussion on how well Yorkshire Water is meeting those 10 steps. Link will be separately meeting with Yorkshire Water’s strategic business objective leads on 10 May to discuss partnership working going forwards.
Meeting with Defra on the draft Water Bill
On 7 May Link will be meeting with Defra to discuss the draft Water Bill. This will include Defra’s proposals for refreshing the draft Bill such as: putting Strategic Policy Statement on the face of the Bill; providing for non-water company storage; clarifying responsibility for Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems; and reforming Ofwat’s general duties.
Meeting with Defra, the Environment Agency (EA) and Natural England (NE) on PR14
On 13 May the Blueprint for Water will be meeting with the EA, NE, Ofwat and Defra to collectively discuss PR14 as well as Customer Challenge Groups and the Natural Environment Programme.
Restoring Sustainable Abstraction system
The Blueprint has written to Defra supporting their proposal on how to reform the Restoring Sustainable Abstraction (RSA) system. Defra have proposed moving to an approach where water company solutions for RSA are included in the price review process and therefore funded directly through price limits rather than through the Environmental Improvement Unit Charge.
The Blueprint for Water has submitted a response to the supplementary consultation on revisions to river flow and water abstraction standards for hydropower. The coalition believes that uptake of renewables is important, including run-of-the-river hydropower, provided that adverse impacts to the river or associated ecosystem are avoided, and legal requirements under the Water Framework Directive continue to be met. The response recommends that the Environment Agency should use two of its four options for hydropower, depending on whether it is a low head or high head system. In addition, the coalition believes that a mechanism must be put in place to assess, with every individual hydropower application, the cumulative impacts on the catchment.
Last updated: 30 April 2013