Abstraction Reform | BAWAG | Broadland Agricultural Water Abstractors Group

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Abstraction Reform Article NFU '1405/03/2014
Making the most of every drop05/03/2014
Water Abstraction Reform05/03/2014
What Abstraction Reform means for me05/03/2014
NFU Consultation Response28/03/2014
GW Hydrology Status 200904/06/2014
SW Hydrology Status 200904/06/2014
EA Abstracton Reform Newsletter18/07/2014
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EA Infographic18/07/2014
DEFRA Letter on Abstraction Reform16/05/2015
Abstraction Briefing 15.12.1707/03/2018

The two options proposed by Defra within the consultation are:

Current System Plus option:

  • The Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales would continue to use the tools currently applied to some licences to reduce or stop abstraction to leave enough water in rivers or groundwater for the environment or other abstractors when flows are low.
  • We would improve these tools, strengthening the link between water availability and abstraction to allow more water to be abstracted when more is available, helping abstractors to adapt to the risks posed by increasing variability of water availability. This would also improve environmental protection, particularly at very low flows.
  • Abstractors would have annual and daily limits in a similar way to now.
  • We would make it easier for abstractors to trade water with each other as temporary low risk trades would be pre-approved.
  • Groundwater abstraction could be varied over the long term in response to changes in availability.

Water Shares option:

  • Abstractors would have a share in the available water resource, rather than an absolute amount. This would encourage abstractors to take a shared responsibility for water resources in catchments in line with the broader catchment based approach.
  • As currently, in each specified area within a catchment the regulator would assess how much water is required to avoid environmental deterioration.
  • The remaining volume of water would then be referred to as the “available resource”. Abstractors then hold shares of different reliabilities in this available resource.
  • Abstractors would receive a water allocation for a fixed period based on the available resource at that time and the reliability and size of their share.
  • For surface water abstractors this period might be a fortnight, although for most abstractors their allocation would not change except at very low flows. For most groundwater abstractors the allocation period would be at least annual.
  • This option allows for pre-approval of shorter-term trading between abstractors and a wider range of trades.

Under both options Defra would also:

  • Remove time limits from licences that currently have them and instead introduce a new transparent and risk based process to review catchment conditions that would enable the regulator to change any abstraction permission within each catchment (regardless of whether they have a time limit now or not), with notice, to protect the environment;
  • Improve the link between abstraction charges and usage;
  • Take an evolutionary and proportionate approach to implementation. We would only introduce the full package of reforms in some catchments where there are clear economic and environmental benefits to doing so.

For more information: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/water/abstraction-reform



The Consultation closes 28 March, 2014.

Farming business is fined for providing misleading information about quantity of water abstracted.