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Consultation on abstraction changes to protect water resources

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River flowing through grassy field

There is coverage today (19 August) in Eastern Daily Press, Farmers Guardian and Farming UK, among others, about the Environment Agency’s 12 week consultation on changes to the way organisations and individuals are charged to abstract water from the environment.

These changes are to help better manage and protect our water resources. Based on recent projections, more than 3.4 billion additional litres per day will be needed in England by 2050, 23% more than today’s supplies.

The new proposed charges – which have not changed for the past 10 years – will be based on:

  • the volume of water taken from the environment;
  • where the water is taken from; and
  • how much of that water is returned to the environment

Under the proposals, around 45% of abstractors will see their annual charges decrease and 55% will see an increase. Overall, three quarters (75%) of all abstractors will see either a decrease or an increase of less than £100.

The changes will enable the Environment Agency to invest more in upgrading infrastructure assets to move water around the country and protecting water-stressed catchments such as chalk streams.

Environment Agency Chief Executive Sir James Bevan said:

In the face of the climate emergency, population growth and rising demand for water, we need to protect our rivers, aquifers and the environment; and ensure that those who rely on water for their business or public supply can continue to do so into the future.

The proposed changes to the Environment Agency’s water abstraction licence charges are designed to do that. They will allow the EA to do more to protect our rivers and chalk streams; to manage our water resources better for the public, businesses and the environment; and to sustain supplies into the future, helping us secure long term water resilience.

I urge anyone with an interest to take part in this consultation on this critical issue for us all.

 All those who abstract water from the environment – including water companies, farmers, local authorities and other organisations – are encouraged to take part.

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  1. Comment by JohnW.Baxter posted on

    Have not heard of any water retention structures having been built by any water companies, but have heard of hose pipe bans.
    Is it not long overdue that new water retention infrastructure should have been put in place by the largest users of the waterways. ie. water companies to show amongst other things ,that we can be proactive and not always reactive with hose pipe bans and extraction restrictions?.

  2. Comment by William Hughes-Games posted on

    Hopefully by now, everyone in influential positions realizes the value of having your catchments populated by beavers for a whole range of valuable effects on your water supply. Here is a starter article for anyone who is not yet on board.
    Put 'beaver' into the search box on this blog for more articles on beavers, specifically in the UK. But a warning.
    If the extra water that is made effectively available by having beavers in a catchment is taken by man rather than being left in the environment, you will be back to sqaure one.