Policy paper

Competition and innovation in the water markets (Cave review)

An independent review of competition and innovation in water markets between March 2008 and April 2009.

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


Final report

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


Professor Martin Cave led an independent review of competition and innovation in water markets between March 2008 and April 2009. The Review published its final report on 22 April 2009 with recommendations to the UK and Welsh Assembly Governments and sectoral regulators (Ofwat, the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate). The UK Government responded to the final report in Budget 2009. The Welsh Assembly Goverment and other bodies will consider the Review’s recommendations and respond in due course.

The review brought forward the Government’s commitment to review the eligibility threshold for non-household customers to choose suppliers introduced as part of Water Act 2003. At the same time, it also undertook a wider review of the competition and innovation framework.

The review aims were to:

  • deliver benefits to both business and household customers. This could be through lower bills, better service and more responsive products; and
  • increase the efficiency and sustainability of water use; through assessing the scope for competition and innovation throughout the water and sewerage industries. It will recommend changes to the legislative and regulatory frameworks needed to deliver those benefits.
Published 6 December 2011