News story

Water Act gains Royal Assent

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

New Act will provide improved choice and affordable flood insurance.

A new law will mean businesses, charities and public sector customers have the freedom to switch water supplier from 2017. It will also ensure affordable flood insurance for hundreds of thousands of households from 2015.

The new Water Act, introduced last night, will open up competition in the water market, bringing real benefits to businesses and the economy. Together with the other water market reforms set out in the Act, this will grow the economy by £2 billion over the next 30 years.

The Act will:

  • address growing pressure on water resources by making our supply more resilient through new companies offering new sources of water
  • help join up the national water network, by making it easier for water companies to buy and sell water from each other
  • increase competition and encourage new entrants to the market who can offer alternative sources of water or innovative ways of treating sewerage, and
  • ensure that hundreds of thousands of households in the highest flood risk areas will be able to access affordable flood insurance from 2015.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said:

We are building a stronger, more competitive economy and our new reforms to the water market will continue to support that long-term plan.

This new law gives businesses the freedom to switch supplier. This will bring real competition into the market, so businesses can seek out the most competitive deal and save money.

Hundreds of thousands of households in the highest flood risk areas will also be able to access affordable flood insurance from 2015.

It will see flood insurance premiums limited and linked to council tax bands. A new industry-backed levy will enable insurance companies to offer cover to those most at risk of flooding.

Owen Paterson added:

This winter’s exceptional weather has had devastating effects on communities and we want to make sure those most at risk are protected both now and in the future.

This legislation is a huge step forward towards our goal to ensure affordable flood insurance for those households most at risk.

You can read more about the Water Act here.