Developing our Water Resources Management Plan

Our Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) sets out the investment needed to ensure that we have sufficient water to continue supplying our customers for the years ahead.  All water companies are required to publish an updated WRMP every five years. 

Our current plan (2015 – 2040)

Details of our current plan can be found here.

Our next plan (2020 – 2045)

We are now embarking on the preparation of our next plan which will cover the period 2020 – 2045 (and beyond).  One of our first tasks is undertake a pre-consultation with a number of statutory consultees, and anyone else who is affected by or has an interest in our plan. 

We really value early dialogue with consultees on the development of our next plan and we would be pleased to receive any comments you have by 30 November 2016.  You can send us comments by email to using the phrase “WRMP19 pre-consultation” in the subject field.

There are a number of important things we need to consider in our next Water Resources Management Plan. For example:

  • We have committed to further explore the potential for reducing the frequency of implementing drought permits to take more water out of the environment
  • There is increased emphasis across the water industry on testing resilience to extreme droughts, considering water supply resilience to other hazards such as flooding, and considering if we should do more to reduce such risks
  • A national study showed that there were benefits in transfers of water from the North West to areas suffering more acute water resources risk.  Such transfers might require us to develop new supply-demand options in the North West to replace the transferred water.
  • There are new advanced planning methods developed by UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR), which have the potential to further improve the technical robustness and decision-making in our plans.

With this in mind, we have prepared a short briefing note which outlines our approach to developing the next plan. Our proposed planning process is designed to allow us to work with customers and stakeholders in order to develop a best-value plan for all, including the environment. We hope that this briefing note will promote discussion and help inform responses to the pre-consultation.

We are open to any comments you wish to make on the development of our next WRMP.  However, you might find it helpful to use these questions to develop your response:

1. Do you consider the current 1 in 20 year level of service to be appropriate for:
a. temporary water use restrictions (commonly referred to as ‘hosepipe bans’)
b. implementation of drought permits (powers to take more water from the environment during times of drought)
It would be useful to understand the reasons for your position in the response.
2. We would welcome views on the level of drought severity we plan for in the Water Resources Management Plan? (see Section 4.2 of the briefing note)
3. What are your views on how we should integrate water supply resilience planning and the Water Resources Management Plan? (see Section 4.2 of the briefing note)
4. Do you have any suggestions for options to improve the supply demand balance, either new sources of water or options to reduce the demand for water?
5. What are your views on the potential for us to export water from the North West to other areas of the country when they are at risk of drought? Are there particular aspects of water trading that you would like us to consider in our plan?
6. Looking at our current published plan, are there any other specific areas that you consider should be a priority for improvement?
7. Are there any specific ways in which you prefer to be engaged or contacted as we develop the plan, including any ideas for collaboration that we could

Pre-Consultation events

Given some of the new and complex influences on our next plan, we’re planning to hold four stakeholder events across the North-West to support the pre-consultation process. These will also cover the consultation on our drought plan.

If you would like to attend one of these events simply let us know by emailing us at using the phrase “WRMP19 pre-consultation” in the subject field.

  • 19th October 2016 in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
  • 20th October 2016 in Workington, Cumbria
  • 27th October 2016 in Chorley, Lancashire
  • 3rd November 2016 in Kendal, Cumbria

What happens after pre-consultation?

Following pre-consultation we will take account of all the views expressed as we build our plan in 2017.  In December 2017 we will publish our draft plan, and then we will hold a public consultation on the draft plan.  We will update this webpage throughout this process.

Can you help?

Within our WRMP we want to make sure we’ve looked at all our options to deliver the best value service to our customers.  We want to see how we can reduce the demand for water in the first place so that we can all be water efficient, but also to find new ways to produce extra water if needed to ensure we keep the taps flowing so that there is enough water for everyone. 

We have already begun engaging with the water market to begin to identify and explore options.  If this is something you or your business could help with, we’d like to hear from you.  We will consider all ideas, within draft plan preparation if feasible.  You can suggest ideas using the following form. 

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