Water company drought plan technical guidance update (2024)

Closes 22 Apr 2024

Opened 11 Mar 2024


Water companies in England and Wales are required to prepare and maintain drought plans under the Water Industry Act 1991, as amended by the Water Act 2003. A drought plan sets out how water companies will supply water to their customers during periods of low rainfall when water supply becomes depleted, whilst minimising any negative impacts of their actions during a drought. It should set out the short-term operational steps they will take before, during and after a drought.

The technical guideline for water companies wholly or mainly in Wales (produced by NRW) to follow when preparing their drought plans was last published in 2017.  We have now reviewed and updated for 2024 with input from other regulators, the Welsh Government, Water companies and other relevant stakeholders.

This guidance sets out what companies must and should include in their statutory drought plans. These plans focus on the actions companies plan to take to maintain water supply and protect the environment from their operations during a drought.  This guideline is applicable to water companies wholly or mainly in Wales.  However, water companies that have sites within or affecting Wales are required to follow parts of the guidance particularly in respect to producing environmental assessments, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA).   

The water company drought plan guidance update (2024) is here: Link to pdf

If you would like to give us your views on our water company drought plan guidance update 2024, please submit these here. 

After this consultation ends, we will consider your responses and will finalise this guidance during Spring 2024 to inform the next round of water company drought plans in Wales (expected later this year). Note that the Welsh Government sets out policy and legislative requirements within its guiding principles developing these plans which should be published at the same time.

This consultation runs from the 11March and ends on 22 April 2024. We look forward to receiving your feedback.


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