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Explanatory Memorandum to Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

Chapter 1 – General Duties of Water Undertakers

40.Article 65 sets out the general duty of the undertaker to develop and maintain an efficient and economical system of water supply.  The undertaker’s obligation to meet its water supply duty is enforceable by the Department, or the Authority, if the Department delegates responsibility to it.  In order to facilitate the determination of what constitutes a breach of the undertaker’s duty or to establish overall performance standards in connection with water supplies the Department may make regulations setting out these matters (Article 66).  However, the Department cannot make regulations unless the Authority has first applied to it to do so and set out the substance of what should be contained in the regulations after consulting the undertaker and carrying out customer research (Article 69).  The regulations, amongst other things, can require the undertaker to pay compensation to customers if it fails to meet the prescribed standards.  Article 67 obliges the Authority to collect information about performance standards and to publish them annually.  The undertaker is required to provide information on performance standards to the Authority (it commits an offence if it fails to do so) and to its customers (Article 68). Regulations, whilst additional to enforcement, do not in any way qualify the powers to enforce.

41.Articles 70 to 73 require the undertaker to produce water resource management and drought plans setting out how the undertaker proposes to manage water resources and cope with any drought. The Articles set out the procedures to be followed by the undertaker, when producing these plans.

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