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Water Act 2003

47. .Section 7: Rights to abstract for drainage purposes, etc.

Abstractions for dewatering mines, quarries or engineering excavations will generally require a licence (usually a temporary or transfer licence – see section 1). But this section also recognises that such abstractions may be required as an emergency measure and it therefore allows them to take place without a licence provided that the EA is notified within five days of their commencement. The Agency may determine that the abstraction is not necessary by reason of an emergency and is able to require a licence application to be made in the normal way. The Agency may also serve notice on the operator that it considers that what started out as an emergency abstraction has ceased to be one.

48.This section also removes two activities from the definition of “land drainage”, and thus from the exemption from licensing. These activities become subject to licensing control. They are: warping (which is the abstraction of water which contains silt onto agricultural land so that the silt can deposit and act as a fertiliser) and irrigation. At present, of those abstractions made for irrigation it is only those that are made for spray irrigation that require abstraction licensing. The growing use of trickle irrigation and the use of land drainage systems in reverse to maintain field water levels and for warping prompts the proposed change. Land drainage i.e. removal of flood water, remains exempt from abstraction licensing. The many minor transfers of water within an Internal Drainage Board district are exempt from licence control, but initial transfers into a Board’s district will be licensable.

49.Provisions in this section are devolved to the Assembly.

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