How Long Would You Queue For Water?

Published date03 November 2021
Subject MatterReal Estate and Construction, Energy and Natural Resources, Construction & Planning, Water
Law FirmBryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
AuthorMr James Parker


This blog considers the long term planning for water resources in England, and how water companies can ensure that they de-risk the long lead in process to delivering the necessary assets. Clearly, water management covers a number of aspects, including leakage management. We focus here on some of the major new capital investments required, known as Strategic Resource Options.

After the recent UK fuel crisis, long queues for fuel and other shortages such as CO2, it raises the question as to whether the country has the strategic resilience to maintain other essential supplies for modern day life. Water springs to mind. We rely on it to stay alive and we all assume ready access by turning on a tap. But how resilient is our water supply and will it be able to cope with future challenges?

Security of Water Supply

The economic regulator, Ofwat, regulates water companies in England. As part of the cycle of regulation, individual companies have a statutory duty to produce and maintain Water Resource Management Plans (WRMPs), which set out how they intend to achieve a secure supply of water for customers and protect and enhance the environment. These plans are tested, often through public inquiry, which means water companies are accustomed to long-term scrutiny.

In response to the water resources challenges that are expected over the long term and the development and funding of new water supply options needed to address these challenges, new layers have been introduced to the planning and funding of water supply projects which water companies must grapple with now, to ensure that long-term plans can be delivered.

RAPID Gated Process

The Regulatory Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID) was established in 2019 to support the development of new water infrastructure and to allocate development funding to water companies who are progressing long term strategic resource options (SROs). It introduced a new process known as the RAPID Gated process that requires water resource solution submissions to pass through a series of 'gates' in order to secure development funding.

New Regional Plans

Alongside this process is a spectre of new regional plans for strategic water supply that was introduced by the...

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