United Utilities launches consultation on plans to ensure sustainable, reliable water supply for the North West to 2085

07 Dec 2022

United Utilities has today launched the public consultation on its draft Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) for the North West of England, giving people the chance to find out more and have their say on water supply for the next six decades.

Each day United Utilities supplies 1.8 billion litres of water to the region’s seven million people, from a network that includes 166 reservoirs, 88 water treatment works, and 42,000km of pipes.

The draft WRMP sets out a strategic roadmap for ensuring that a reliable, sustainable and affordable supply of high quality water can continue to be provided for the region between 2025 and 2085. It outlines short, medium and long-term plans to deal with the challenges of climate change and population growth, and highlights the investment and environmental improvement opportunities available.

As well as the sustainable use of water sources, the draft WRMP covers improving customer service levels, managing demand, reducing leaks, and encouraging more efficient water use.

It also explores the role that water transfers might play in supporting national water resilience, with options for transferring water from the North West and Wales to the South East.

The draft WRMP sets out how United Utilities will:

  • Meet government policy to halve the level of leaks and reduce water use per person per day to 110 litres by 2050.
  • Protect the environment by reducing the amount of water taken from it.
  • Support national planning by developing options such as boreholes and river sources to allow water transfer outside the region.
  • Build new water sources to help reduce the frequency of needing temporary use bans by 2031.

With increasing pressure on precious water resources across the UK, United Utilities’ draft WRMP is part of the Water Resources West regional planning group, and the wider national framework. The aim of this joined-up approach is to make sure that all water companies are delivering best value and making the most of water sources, including through transfer schemes between regions where appropriate.

Perry Hobbs, Head of Environmental Strategy at United Utilities, said: “There are many anticipated challenges for the years ahead so it’s essential that we have a robust and comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan in place to ensure we can continue to provide high quality water to our region in a way that is environmentally sustainable.

“Our plan sets out a balance between supplying water and protecting our precious resources, and the environment on which they depend, while meeting the demands of a growing population and a developing region.

“The consultation is open now, and we welcome responses from all customers and stakeholders to help inform our final plan, which we expect to publish in Autumn 2023, subject to approval from Defra.”

To find out more and respond to the consultation online, visit: https://www.unitedutilities.com/corporate/about-us/our-future-plans/water-resources/developing-our-water-resources-management-plan/. There will be two virtual and one in-person workshop during the consultation period, and all responses must be received by 15th March 2023. Full details can be found on the website, and any enquiries should be sent to wrmpconsult@uuplc.co.uk.