The water resource position of Welsh Water’s area of supply is relatively strong. We abstract around 3% of annual effective rainfall for public supply in our region, compared to around 50% in the south and east of England.
Around 95% of our water resources originate as surface water either from reservoir storage or river abstractions. We have very little dependence on groundwater supplies. This reliance on surface waters can increase vulnerability to short periods of low rainfall as rivers levels change more quickly than groundwaters.
All Welsh Water’s abstractions are licensed by Natural Resources Wales and the Environment Agency who are responsible for ensuring the sustainable use of water resources in Wales and England. These licences set the maximum volume and rate at which water can be abstracted each day throughout the year. Rivers in Wales have high ecological status and licences are set to ensure that this is maintained. Releases from Welsh Water’s reservoirs during dry spells help to maintain river flows.
Our Water Resources Management Plan
To ensure that water is available to our customers when it is needed and in the quantity required, Welsh Water prepares and maintains a Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP), which forecasts over a 25 year period the supply and demand balance across our water supply area. We published our Final WRMP in October 2012 and this WRMP was subject to a full public consultation process.
On 20th June 2012 we received direction from Welsh Government to prepare a new draft Water Resource Management Plan to be submitted to them by 31st March 2013 and to be publically consulted on thereafter. This new draft Water Resource Management Plan is now open for public consultation and can be seen here.
Our Drought Plan
Another part of Welsh Water’s strategy describes how we manage water during times of extreme weather conditions. Welsh Water produced its Draft Drought Plan in 2006 which outlines our communication and operational strategy that will be put in place under drought conditions. This draft plan would be put in place in during an exceptional drought period. However this plan will not be published until direction is received from the Welsh Government. We are currently preparing a new draft Drought Plan, which will reflect new powers under the Water Use (Temporary Bans) Order 2010. This will be submitted to Welsh Government in due course