DEFRA has published a summary of responses from its consultation on reforming the water abstraction management system – Making the Most of Every Drop.
The reforms proposed in the consultation are designed to make the water abstraction management system more flexible and resilient to future pressures. Two main options for reform were identified, which were developed through working closely with stakeholders. These are ‘Current System Plus’ and ‘Water Shares’.
The key difference between Current System Plus and Water Shares is the proposed method for linking water abstraction to water availability in surface water, although both methods aim to increase the amount of water that can be used. Both options make it quicker and easier for abstractors to trade water with each other, though Water Shares allows for a greater range of trades to be pre-approved than in Current System Plus.