Water Industry Act

Applies to EnglandApplies to WalesApplies to Scotland

Title: Water Industry Act

Category: England, Wales and Scotland Law

Date: 1991, 1999

Reference: 1991 Chapter 56 [Full text], 1999 Chapter 9 [Full text]

General Description:

1991 Act description:

Under this act a person shall be guilty of an offence if-

  1. he causes or allows underground water to run to waste from any well, borehole or work water;
  2. he abstracts from any well, borehole or other work water in excess of his reasonable requirements.

A person shall not be guilty of an offence under (i) above if the work is for the following purposes:

  1. testing the quality of the supply;
  2. cleaning, sterilising, examining or repairing a well, borehole or other work in action.

If the underground water interferes or threatens to interfere with the carrying out of any underground works, and if no other method is available, then the water is permitted to run to waste.

It is an offence under this act to pollute or potentially pollute any water in any waterworks which is likely to be used for human consumption. Exceptions include cultivating the land and following the principles of good husbandry.

1999 Act description:

For England and Wales, the Act provides new entitlements for water consumers, particularly household customers. It prohibits the disconnection of the water supply to homes for reasons of non-payment. It gives many water consumers new rights to choose the basis on which they are charged for water and sewerage services. It allows for rateable value to continue to be used as a basis of unmeasured charging after 31 March 2000. It also allows for the Secretary of State to make regulations concerning particular charges to be applied to particular groups.

In addition, the 1999 Act gives effect to the recommendations of the review of the water industry in Scotland carried out in 1997. It amends the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, dissolving the Scottish Water and Sewerage Customers Council and establishing the Water Industry Commissioner for Scotland to promote the interests of customers of the water and sewerage authorities. The Commissioner will assume most of the existing duties of the Council and will have new advisory functions in relation to the fixing of water and sewerage charges. The provisions also establish Water Industry Consultative Committees for each of the water and sewerage authorities. The Consultative Committees will advise the Commissioner on the promotion of the interests of customers of the authority in question.

Note: In Scotland there is now the Water Industry (Scotland) Act.

Pertinence to Agriculture: Water, Agricultural Pollution

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