Environmental management – collection

Water abstraction returns

How to complete a water abstraction return and deadlines for returns.

Most abstraction licences will ask you to submit a record of your actual abstraction to the Environment Agency (known as ‘returns’). Even if you haven’t taken any water, you must submit a nil return if your licence states that you must report your water use.

Managing your water abstraction licence

How to complete your water abstraction return

You can complete your returns in 1 of 2 ways:

  • completing a paper form supplied by the Environment Agency
  • using the Generic Operator Returns (GOR) online system

Deadlines for submitting water abstraction returns

The Environment Agency notifies you to complete a return Deadline to submit your return
end of March 28 April
end of October 28 November

Submit paper form

If you are not registered for online submission the Environment Agency will send you a form when your return is due and guidance on how to complete the form. The form is pre-populated with details about your abstraction licence.

Submit online

If you have registered to submit your return using GOR the Environment Agency will send you an email when your return is due. The web screen and GOR spreadsheet online options are pre-populated by the Environment Agency with details about your abstraction licence.

If you have not registered to submit your return online you will need to contact the Environment Agency so they can set up your login details. Telephone: 03708 506 506 (call charges).

Start: Submit your abstraction return using GOR

Water abstraction returns - web screen guidance

You can submit your water abstraction return by completing the GOR web screens.

  1. Water abstraction returns: web screen guidance

    • Guidance

Water abstraction returns: spreadsheet guidance

You can download the spreadsheet to compile and upload your return. You will also need to refer to the meter manufacturer used drop down list values and method of non meter assessment drop down list values.

  1. Water abstraction returns: spreadsheet guidance

    • Guidance

Water abstraction returns: XML schema

Use this XML schema, technical note and guidance to generate your own XML file and submit your return online. You will also need to refer to the meter manufacturer used drop down list values and method of non meter assessment drop down list values.

  1. Water abstraction returns: XML

    • Guidance