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Water Act 2003

The Water Act 2003 introduced some changes to the regulation of the water industry in England and Wales under the Water Industry Act 1991, by transferring responsibility for economic regulation from an individual Director General to an Authority (which continues to be known as Ofwat), changing its statutory duties, and introducing a second-tier supply licensing system and a new regime for abstraction licences.

The full text of the Act is available (in HTML chunks) from the HMSO/OPSI website at:

The revised statutory duties for Ofwat and of the Secretary of State are in Section 39.

Water supply licensing

The Water Act 2003 added a second-tier licensing scheme to the Water Industry Act 1991, with a stated objective of introducing more competition in the retailing and production of water using incumbents' networks.

The provisions are in Schedule 4 of the Water Act 2003 which introduces new sections 17A-17R and sections 66A-66L into the Water Industry Act 1991:

In late 2006, Ofwat reported that this had not been spectacularly successful.

In early 2007, Ofwat appeared to dispute the implications of the Competition Appeal Tribunal judgment in a test case on access pricing for water industry facilities that its own policy might have been responsible for the lack of development of competition.

Related pages

Scotland and Northern Ireland

The Water Act 2003 only extends to England and Wales. Water industry regulation in Scotland and Northern Ireland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Government respectively.

In Scotland, the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 prohibits common carriage and limits retail licences to the supply of services to non-residential users.

In Northern Ireland, water services are currently provided by Water Service Northern Ireland, a Government department. The Water Reform Northern Ireland website outlines some proposals and consultations for changes.

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Last changed by Franck at 7:36 AM on Saturday 24 February 2007.

Reference for this page:
Reckon Open "Water Act 2003" 2007-02-24T07:36:23
Link within Reckon Open: [[Water Act 2003]]