Press release

Secretary of State for Wales announces new deal on water in Wales

Reforms to the Wales Bill will remove the UK Government's historic right to intervene on water-related issues.


The UK Government has announced it will be devolving powers over water to the National Assembly and Welsh Government.

Currently the UK Government can block Welsh Assembly legislation if it is likely to have a serious adverse impact on water supplies in England. It can also stop Welsh Ministers taking action for the same reason.

However, innovative reforms to the Wales Bill now going through the House of Lords will remove the UK Government’s historic right to intervene on water-related issues.

Householders in England and Wales won’t see any change. What will change is that future issues involving Welsh water will now be administered by the Welsh Government.

Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said:

The current powers allowing UK Ministers to intervene on water issues will be replaced by a statutory agreement between the UK and Welsh Governments.

This recognises the increasingly mature relationship between the Governments of Westminster and Cardiff Bay. It is part of a wider package of measures being agreed under the Wales Bill.

Water has been a challenging issue as anyone familiar with recent Welsh history knows. I’m pleased we are now about to reach a definitive agreement that resolves past differences and provides clarity for the future.

This approach lies at the heart of the Wales Bill which is designed to give Welsh people control over the daily decisions affecting their lives. It is only natural that a critical issue like water is part of this agreement.

Published 14 November 2016