Policy paper

Water stressed areas: 2013 classification

This report is our formal advice to ministers on which areas in England and Wales are in serious water stress.

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


Water stressed areas – final classification

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The water company water stress designations were updated in July 2013, using up-to-date evidence for determining the level of ‘water stress’ for areas in England and Wales.

When an area is designated as being in ‘serious water stress’, the water company for that area must make a plan to manage demand for water effectively. There are many ways they can do this. The water company must consider all the options available to them, including water metering. If water metering is the most cost effective option, the company may include proposals for metering everyone in the area in their plan.

The water resources management plans are subject to public consultation before the Secretary of State decides whether a company should be allowed to publish its final plan.

No water company is required to introduce compulsory metering. In most parts of the country customers have the choice about whether to opt for a water meter.

• Government response - Water metering: response to an article in the Telegraph

Published 8 August 2013