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Defra Push for Greater Drought Resilience

This letter is Minister Rutley‘s (Interim Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) response to the Chief Executive Officer of Ofwat. Ofwat sent a letter to Minister Rutley setting out initial reactions to the National Infrastructure Commission’s ‘preparing for a drier future’ report on water. This included thoughts on how the sector needs to respond.

The Commission’s report endorses the ‘twin track’ approach concluding that ambitious action is needed to reduce leakage and customers’ water usage, but also new infrastructure to deliver at least 1300 million litres per day of additional supply, through new water transfers and storage.

Minister Rutley’s letter outlines the shared conclusion that we need to increase long-term security of water supply. The government will respond to the NIC report in due course.

Minister Rutley believes much can be done within the existing framework but he wants to see companies establishing the scale of the challenge.  The EA are currently developing a national framework and the emerging thinking from the 25 year environment plan on system operation. Ofwat are advised to encourage pilots during the next price review period to test how planning and procurement could deliver greater resilience efficiently.


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