Ofwat backs further exploration into ideas and partnerships to help keep taps running

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Ofwat has confirmed its backing for nine water companies to progress with the investigation of innovative ideas and partnerships to help bring water to the drier parts of the country as part of a £500m programme. 

The Regulators’ Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID), a partnership made up of the water regulators, Ofwat, the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate, was formed to help facilitate the development and funding of new large scale strategic water supply solutions to help prevent predicted water shortages, protect the environment and meet wider societal needs.  

Nine water companies have collaborated on investigating and developing solutions which will now receive ring-fenced funding for the next stage of their development. 

The wide-ranging solutions include ideas such as capturing, recycling and building new reservoirs.

David Black, Interim Chief Executive at Ofwat, commented: “The need for maintaining reliable water supplies has never been clearer, with the ongoing challenges of population growth and climate change.

“Meeting the challenge demands collaboration and fresh thinking, and it’s exciting to see some of the green shoots from that, including plans to use canals and rivers as nature’s conveyor belt to move water to where it is needed most.”

Other projects include investigating sharing water with farmers or industry, or providing other benefits like reducing flood risk or making space for nature. 

Following feedback from stakeholders, RAPID has offered its backing to further explore these solutions but is calling on companies to do more to engage with stakeholders.

More information about the projects is available on the Ofwat website.

RAPID have also published a consultation asking for views on the regulatory and commercial issues affecting infrastructure development. The alliance recognises that changes are required to regulatory and commercial frameworks and the consultation covers this.

Responses are invited from interested parties by 5pm Wednesday 26 January 2022.

More information about this consultation and how to take part is available on the Ofwat website.