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Water Act 2003

Overview of the Act

24.With certain exceptions the Act extends only to England and Wales.

25.The Act is divided into 4 parts and has 105 sections and 9 schedules.

26.Part 1 and elements of Part 3: provide the Environment Agency with additional tools for managing water resources and stronger powers to take action against abstractions causing environmental damage. They introduce provisions to increase the scope and public availability of information on water resources which are intended to enable abstractors to plan ahead in an environmentally responsible manner. They also make provision to increase the flexibility, accountability and administrative efficiency of the abstraction and impounding licensing system, with the intended result of increasing the ease of access to sustainable water resources.

27.Part 2: establishes a regulatory Board to replace the existing individual Director General of Water Services along with a new independent Consumer Council for Water to replace the Customer Service Committees. It also introduces other provisions intended to improve the regulatory regime and to extend the opportunities for competition in the water industry, by allowing new entrants to supply non-household customers who use large volumes of water.

28.Part 3: see above, with Part 1. This Part introduces a range of miscellaneous provisions including a duty on the Secretary of State and the National Assembly for Wales to encourage water conservation. Part 3 also includes powers for the Secretary of State to require sewerage undertakers to adopt private sewers.

29.Part 4: contains a number of supplementary provisions, such as commencement, short title and territorial extent.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

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